How is urinary incontinence categorized?

Updated: Sep 23, 2019
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Four types of urinary incontinence are defined in the Clinical Practice Guideline issued by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research: stress, urge, mixed, and overflow. Some authors include functional incontinence as a fifth type of incontinence. [7, 8, 3]

Stress incontinence is characterized by urine leakage associated with increased abdominal pressure from laughing, sneezing, coughing, climbing stairs, or other physical stressors on the abdominal cavity and, thus, the bladder. [2, 3] Urge urinary incontinence is involuntary leakage accompanied by or immediately preceded by urgency. Mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of stress and urge incontinence; it is marked by involuntary leakage associated with urgency and also with exertion, effort, sneezing or coughing.

Functional incontinence is the inability to hold urine due to reasons other than neuro-urologic and lower urinary tract dysfunction.


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