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Incontinence occurs when urine or faeces cannot be voluntarily retained because control over the bladder or the anal sphincter muscle has been lost. This condition is more common than people think and is not harmful. In most cases, incontinence can be treated effectively. Any treatment strategy will depend on the type of incontinence. And in addition to the right exercises, there is often a need for an effective incontinence medication.

Medically reviewed by Prof. Dr. O. Patho on December 17, 2018


  • Information

    What is incontinence?

    Incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine or faeces. Urine incontinence means that urination can no longer be properly controlled. So any strong urge to urinate cannot be stopped. This is called urge incontinence.

    It may also occur during activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting, climbing stairs, running or jumping. In this form, it is known as stress incontinence or exercise incontinence.

    While urinary incontinence can be annoying and embarrassing, it is not harmful.

    What are the symptoms?

    The symptoms of incontinence are bladder problems, the uncontrolled passing of urine and faeces, prostate complaints and the leaking of urine.

    With stress incontinence, the loss of urine mainly occurs when there is pressure on the bladder.

    Urge incontinence is characterized by a sudden, intense need to urinate, followed by uncontrolled urine leakage.

    Mixed incontinence is where both kinds of symptoms occur.

    Overflow incontinence usually occurs in older men with an enlarged prostate and is characterised by an 'overflow' of the bladder.

    What are the possible causes?

    Incontinence can have various causes. In most cases, incontinence occurs due to weakening or damage to the pelvic floor muscles.

    Incontinence in women can be the result of pregnancy, childbirth or hormonal changes during the menopause. Incontinence in men can occur after a prostate operation. Any weakening of the pelvic floor muscles puts extra pressure on the bladder, which can cause leakage of urine.

    Incontinence can also be caused by underlying neurological disorders and practical problems such as poor access to toilet facilities.

    How is the condition diagnosed?

    Your doctor makes a diagnosis based on a consultation during which you will be asked some questions. Urinary problems can be caused by a bladder infection, so that possibility must first be ruled out.


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