Incontinence is classified by the symptoms or circumstances occurring at the time of urine leakage.

There are many different types of incontinence.

Stress incontinence

May be due to poor bladder support by the pelvic muscles or to a weak or damaged sphincter. This condition allows urine to leak when you do anything that strains or stresses the abdomen, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even walking.

Urge incontinence

Results when an overactive bladder contracts without your wanting it to do so. You may feel as if you can’t wait to reach a toilet.

At times, you may leak urine without any warning at all. A bladder can become overactive because of infection that irritates the bladder lining.

The nerves that normally control the bladder can also be responsible for an overactive bladder. In other cases, the cause may be unclear. Mixed incontinence is often a combination of both conditions above – stress and urge incontinence.

Overflow incontinence

This occurs when the bladder is allowed to become so full that it simply overflows. This happens when bladder weakness or a blocked urethra prevents normal emptying. An enlarged prostate can result in such blockage.

For this reason, overflow incontinence is more common in men than in women.

Bladder weakness

Bladder weakness can develop in both men and women, but it happens most often in people with diabetes, heavy alcohol users, and others with decreased nerve function.

Environmental incontinence

Sometimes called functional incontinence, this occurs when people cannot get to the toilet or get a bedpan when they need it. The urinary system may work well, but physical or mental disabilities or other circumstances prevent normal toilet usage.

types of urinary incontinence