Types of Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence:

People who suffer from Urinary Incontinence have been described as having poor bladder control. There are many different causes with the most common being:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy (both pre and post natal women)
  • Younger women who have had children
  • Menopause
  • Constipation
  • Hysterectomy (removal of all or part of the uterus and/or ovaries)
  • Prostatectomy (removal of all or part of the prostate)
  • Neurological and musculoskeletal conditions such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis
  • Reduced mobility preventing you from getting to or using the toilet
  • Health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, respiratory conditions, heart conditions and prostate problems
  • Some medications

 Let’s touch base on a few of the common types:

  • Urge Incontinence: 

    Urge incontinence is described as a sudden or strong urge to urinate. It is also referred to as an overactive or unstable bladder, or detrusor instability.

    Most people find that when they get the initial feeling of needing to go to the toilet that they can hold on until they find a bathroom. Someone who experiences either an overactive bladder or urge incontinence may feel that the bladder is actually fuller than it really is. The bladder contracts too early as it is not very full and not when you want it to which can make you suddenly need to go to the toilet and perhaps leak some urine before you actually get there.

    Someone who experiences urge incontinence will wake several times during the night (nocturia) and frequently pass urine during the day.

    The Explanation:

    A properly functioning bladder remains relaxed as the bladder fills up which is the bladder muscle (detrusor). When the bladder is about half full we get a feeling of wanting to pass urine as the bladder gradually stretches.


    Unfortunately the cause is not fully understood however it becomes more common as we age. Triggers that may make the symptoms worse include coffee, tea, alcohol, fizzy drinks and stress related situations. For more information visit diet tips.

    Urge incontinence may occur from having a long history of poor bladder habits, an enlarged prostate gland or constipation (having difficulty emptying the bowel or not being able to empty it). Some cases of an overactive bladder are unknown.

    Urge incontinence can affect a person’s ability to hold and store urine. This has been linked to further health conditions, stroke, multiple sclerosis and parkinson’s disease, which interfere with the brains ability to send messages to the bladder via the spinal cord. For more info visit Mind.

  • Overflow Incontinence:

    Overflow incontinence is described as having frequent leakage of small amounts of urine as the bladder is unable to empty properly.

    If your bladder is not completely emptying there are signs to look out for:

    • After going to the toilet feeling as if your bladder is not empty
    • Slow or weak urine stream
    • No or little warning that you need to pass urine
    • Straining feeling to pass urine
    • Frequently experiencing urinary tract infections or cystisis
    • Passing urine while asleep
    • After visiting the toilet dribbling more urine


    Many possible causes have been linked to overflow incontinence which include:

    • Enlarged prostate
    • Urethra blockage caused by a full bladder (When the bladder is full, it can put pressure on the urethra making it difficult to pass urine)
    • Prolapse of pelvic organs which can block the urethra
    • Nerve damage to the nerves that control the bladder, pelvic floor muscles and urethral sphincter.
    • Medications including over the counter medications and herbal products can interfere with the bladder function.
    • The conditions of a stroke, diabetes, parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis can interfere with bladder emptying and the sensation of a full bladder.
  • Stress Incontinence:

    Stress incontinence is described as having small amounts of urine leaking during activities that increase the pressure inside the abdomen and push down on the bladder. Some men experience this often due to a result of prostate surgery however it is most commonly occurs in women.

    Factors that contribute to stress incontinence include obesity, constipation, diabetes, chronic cough (linked to smoking, asthma and bronchitis) and is most commonly linked to activities such as laughing, lifting, walking, coughing, sneezing and playing sport.


    Women and Stress Incontinence:

    Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are often the cause of stress incontinence in women

    The pelvic floor muscles can stretch and weaken during pregnancy and childbirth, damaging the support around the urethra causing stress incontinence during activities and that push down on the bladder.


    Men and Stress Incontinence:

    Prostate surgery causes many men to develop stress incontinence. It is recommended that men talk to a health care professional to address the issue and seek help as it may take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to resolve it.

    Stress Incontinence Overview:

    Stress incontinence can cause you to feel embarrassed and some people will isolate themselves from exercise, leisure activities, social gatherings and the working environment. A large number of people wrongly believe that it is a normal part of ageing or that it cannot be treated. Stress incontinence can be managed with treatment to ensure you can enjoy everyday life activities.

    We recommend using Allusive’s Flexi Pad or Cotton Semi Flex for Men and Women, which are for users on the go. The Cotton Semi Flex has been designed to have a better impact on the environment as you use the Flexi Pad with our Uniquely Designed Cotton Underwear specifically made to fit the pad snuggly into place. The Underwear can be washed and used again and again.

  • Functional Incontinence:

    Functional incontinence is described as someone not knowing when the need arises to go to the toilet and generally not leaving enough time to make it to a bathroom. As a result the person may not make it to the toilet before the passing of urine occurs.


    Many possible causes have been linked to functional incontinence which include:

    • Poor mobility
    • Poor eyesight
    • Dementia
    • Poor dexterity (Lack of fine motor skills that makes removing clothing difficult)
    • Low chairs that are difficult to get out of, environmental factors such as poor lighting and toilets that are difficult to access
    • Depression, anxiety and anger can cause an unwillingness to go the toilet
  • Faecal Incontinence

    The chance of faecal incontinence is increased when a person suffers from urinary incontinence and it has similar risk factors as urinary incontinence which are listed above however other symptoms may include:

    • Dementia
    • Chronic Diarrhea

    People having been described as having faecal incontinence have leakage from the bowel and poor bowel control. Mild cases may experience staining of underwear along with excessive involuntary wind. Certain health conditions or medicines can make poor bowel control worse.


    Faecal incontinence includes poor bowel control and loss of bowel control caused by:

    • Diabetes
    • Long term straining for bowel movement
    • Medications e.g diabetes, antibiotics and drugs for arthritis
    • Bowel disease e.g crohn’s disease and coeliac disease
    • Nerve disorders resulting from multiple sclerosis and parkinson’s
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation