What is the pathophysiology of functional urinary incontinence?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Functional incontinence is seen in patients with normal voiding systems but who have difficulty reaching the toilet because of physical or psychological impediments. In some cases, the cause is transient or reversible. In others, a permanent problem can be identified. The etiology of the incontinence may be iatrogenic, environmental, situational, or disease related. The following common mnemonic, DIAPPERS, is helpful in remembering the functional contributors to incontinence [26] :

  • D - Delirium

  • I - Infection, urinary

  • A - Atrophic urethritis or vaginitis

  • P - Pharmacologic agents

  • P - Psychiatric illness

  • E - Endocrine disorders

  • R - Reduced mobility or dexterity

  • S - Stool impaction

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