While more than 25 million people in the United States suffer from incontinence, few realize there are a dozen different types and what they mean. What type of incontinence do you have? Let’s explore the seven most common types.
- Stress Incontinence
This is the most common type and is predominant in women though men experience this, too. It is characterized by occasional, involuntary leakage when you sneeze, cough, burst out laughing or lift something that is heavier than you expected. The leakage occurs for just a moment or two while your bladder muscles and urethral sphincters regroup.
- Urge Incontinence
Also common, this type is characterized by a sudden and overwhelming need to use the bathroom. You experience gushes of urine as your entire bladder may empty all at once. This can be caused by muscles spasms of the bladder or certain medications.
- Mixed Incontinence
When you experience both stress and urge incontinence but don’t know which type will strike next. This can leave you with a bladder that keeps you guessing. Sometimes you have occasional leakage whereas at other times everything gushes out at once.
- Functional Incontinence
Interestingly, this type occurs when you experience incontinence as gushes of urine yet your urinary system functions normally. In other words, your incontinence is related to something other than your urinary system. For instance, with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may be in urinary distress but not be able to remember how to get to the bathroom. If experiencing vision loss and are in an unfamiliar place, you may not be able to read signage showing where bathrooms are located. If you use a wheelchair or other motorized transport but there is a set of stairs between you and the bathroom. Chronic alcoholism can also result in functional incontinence.
- Post-Void Dribbling
Men are more likely to experience this type as it is common with an enlarged prostate. For women it can be due to weakened muscles of the pelvic floor. Either way, it is characterized by urinary leakage soon after you have used the bathroom.
- Total Incontinence
This type may sound more extreme than it actually is. Instead of gushes of urine, with total incontinence you likely experience frequent dribbling. You have total incontinence when your bladder no longer holds or stores urine until you are ready to void. In other words, your kidneys filter out waste which drains down through your ureters, hits the bladder and just keeps on going. This is characterized by frequent or even constant dribbling as your bladder never fills enough to gush.
- Bowel Incontinence
If you have ever had a bad case of food poisoning or the stomach flu you have an idea of what bowel/fecal incontinence is all about. This type is characterized by loose bowels that may be quite watery or loosely formed stool.
You may now have a good idea of which type of incontinence you have. The next step is to talk to your doctor about it. No matter what type you have, ActivStyle provides absorbent incontinence supplies to meet your needs and which your insurance may cover.