Bladder leakage (urinary incontinence) is very common, and happens to many of us at some stage in our lives. Studies estimate that half the population will experience bladder leakage at one time or another. 

For expert advice please visit your GP or call the FREE Continence Helpline on 0800 650 659

The main causes of bladder leakage are shown here. Whatever the reason, with D»Brief® there is no need to compromise either your lifestyle or your wallet.
Stress incontinence
Stress incontinence is an uncontrollable leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement such as coughing, sneezing or exercising. This is more common in women then men.

Stress incontinence happens when there is external pressure or stress on the bladder. This extra pressure causes the bladder to leak urine. How much urine is passed, depends on the severity of the incontinence and the level of external pressure applied to the bladder. The external pressure is in the form of strenuous physical activity like lifting heavy objects, vigorous exercise, or as mentioned about coughing, sneezing. This is most commonly caused because the pelvic floor muscles are not strong enough to prevent the leakage of urine. One of the main reasons for weak pelvic floor muscles in women is pregnancy and giving birth, which tend to put a lot of extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. Often these muscles take time to recover. Menopause and ageing can also cause these muscles to lose their elasticity and therefore their effectiveness.

For men, prostate surgery can cause stress incontinence because the prostate supports the urethra and the removal of the prostate can lead to a weakening of the muscles that hold urine in.
Urge incontinence
Urge incontinence is the second most common variety of incontinence after Stress incontinence. Women are more likely to suffer from urge incontinence then men.

Urge incontinence occurs when you get an uncontrollable urge to urinate and your bladder may leak before you get to a toilet. It is usually due to involuntary bladder contractions.

This type of incontinence occurs when your bladder contacts without you intentionally wanting it to, leaving you little or no time to get to the bathroom.
Overflow
Overflow incontinence is when the bladder is unable to empty properly and as a result frequent leakage of small amounts of urine occurs.

Signs that your bladder is not completely emptying include:
  • Feeling that you need to strain to pass urine.
  • A weak or slow urine stream.
  • Feeling as if your bladder is not empty just after going to the toilet.
  • Little or no warning when you need to pass urine.
  • Passing urine while asleep.
    Frequent urinary tract infections or cystitis, and 'dribbling' more urine after visiting the toilet.
There are several possible causes for overflow incontinence. These include:
  • A urethra blockage caused by a full bladder (the full bladder can put pressure on the urethra, making it difficult to pass urine) an enlarged prostate a prolapse of pelvic organs which can block the urethra.
  • Damage to the nerves that control the bladder, urethral sphincter or pelvic floor muscles.
  • Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke or Parkinson's disease (these conditions can interfere with the sensation of a full bladder and with bladder emptying).
  • Some medications (which can interfere with bladder function) including over the counter medications and herbal products.
Mixed
Mixed Incontinence is defined as the combination of stress and urge incontinence. This accounts for approximately 33% of all cases of incontinence in women. More common in older women.

Because mixed incontinence is typically a combination of stress and urge incontinence, it shares symptoms of both. You may have mixed incontinence if you experience the following symptoms:
  • Leaking urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh, do jarring exercise, or lift something heavy.
  • Leaking urine after a sudden urge to urinate, urinating while you sleep, after drinking a small amount of water, or when you touch water or hear it running.
Incontinence can also be a result of surgical procedures such as prostate or rectal surgery and caesarean surgery.

Stress incontinence is an uncontrollable leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement such as coughing, sneezing or exercising. This is more common in women then men.

Urge incontinence is the second most common variety of incontinence after Stress incontinence. Women are more likely to suffer from urge incontinence then men.

Overflow incontinence is when the bladder is unable to empty properly and as a result frequent leakage of small amounts of urine occurs.

Mixed Incontinence is defined as the combination of stress and urge incontinence. This accounts for approximately 33% of all cases of incontinence in women. More common in older women.

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