Which Type of Incontinence Do I Have?

Whether you fear leaks when you laugh or spend too much time thinking about where the nearest bathroom is, urinary incontinence can significantly affect your life. Fortunately, there are treatments available.

Here at Habersham OBGYN located in Demorest, Georgia, Dr. Thomas Hatchett and our highly skilled team provide a wide range of integrative health care services for women. Whatever your age and stage of life, we can help you navigate everything from preventive and obstetrics care to health disorders like urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or the loss of bladder control, is more common in women than men, striking at a ratio of 2-to-1. It is more likely to occur as we age, though it should not be written off as an inevitable side effect of being older. Treatments are available. The first step is determining which type of incontinence you are experiencing.

Kinds of urinary incontinence

Incontinence can result from a number of different reasons. These include:

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence occurs when there is abdominal pressure on the bladder, like when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Exercising or lifting a heavy object can also result in a leak. Many times only a small amount of urine is involved, though in more serious cases the entire bladder may empty.

Stress incontinence may be more likely for women who have delivered one or more babies vaginally, as the labor and delivery process could stretch and potentially damage the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor. Aging and the weakening of the pelvic floor and urethra muscles can also contribute.

Urge incontinence

Also known as overactive bladder, urge incontinence involves an intense sudden need to urinate even when the bladder isn't full. Many people are impacted by having to frequently rush to the bathroom, and some experience an accident before arriving. A number of things can cause urge incontinence, ranging from an infection or accident to diabetes or a neurological disease.

Overflow incontinence

Overflow incontinence occurs when urine is blocked from naturally flowing from the bladder. With the bladder never fully emptying, leakage can result. It could be caused by a number of conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tumors, scar tissue, a prolapsed uterus or bladder, nerve damage, certain medications, and more.

Functional incontinence

Functional incontinence is when an accident occurs because you can't reach the bathroom in time due to a disability or illness. People with dementia or mental illness may not realize they need to go, while those with arthritis and other mobility issues may not be able to move as quickly as needed.


Once the cause behind your urinary incontinence is discovered, the next step is to determine the right type of treatment. Depending on the situation, this can vary from conservative options like medication, electrical stimulation, and pelvic floor therapy to one of the many kinds of minimally invasive incontinence surgery.

If you're tired of accidents and thoughts about the nearest bathroom controlling your life, book online or call our office at 706-754-3997 to make an appointment for a complete urinary evaluation today.

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