What is the pathophysiology of continuous urinary incontinence?

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

This severe type of incontinence is characterized by constant or near constant leakage with no symptoms other than wetness. Generally, this represents a significant breech in the storage capabilities of the bladder or urethra. Urogenital fistulas are a classic example.

A nonfunctioning urethra can result in continuous leakage. Scarring and fibrosis from previous surgery, partial urethral resection for vulvar cancer, and urethral sphincter paralysis due to lower motor neuron disease can cause the urethra to fail.

Pelvic irradiation may not only cause urogenital fistula but in rare cases causes bladder noncompliance that results in continuous incontinence. Congenital malformations of the genitourinary tract, such as bladder exstrophy, [26] epispadias, and ectopic ureters, can result in total incontinence.


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