Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It’s not clear exactly how many people are affected, but it’s estimated that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK may have some degree of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence affects both men and women, but it tends to be more common in women overall.
There are four main types of incontinence:
- Urge incontinence due to an overactive bladder
Overactive bladder (OAB), also known as overactive bladder syndrome, is a condition where there is a frequent feeling of needing to urinate to a degree that it negatively affects a person’s life. The frequent need to pee may occur during the day, at night, or both. If there is loss of bladder control then it is known as urge incontinence.
- Stress incontinence due to poor closure of the bladder
Stress Incontinence is the loss of small amounts of urine associated with coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or other movements that increase intra-abdominal pressure and thus increase pressure on the bladder. The urethra is supported by fascia of the pelvic floor. If this support is insufficient, the urethra can move downward at times of increased abdominal pressure, allowing urine to pass.
- Overflow incontinence due to either poor bladder contraction or blockage of the urethra
Overflow incontinence is a form of urinary incontinence, characterized by the involuntary release of urine from an overly full urinary bladder, often in the absence of any urge to urinate. This condition occurs in people who have a blockage of the bladder outlet (benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate cancer, or narrowing of the urethra), or when the muscle that expels urine from the bladder is too weak to empty the bladder normally. Overflow incontinence may also be a side effect of certain medications.
- Functional incontinence due to medications or health problems making it difficult to reach the bathroom
Functional incontinence is a form of urinary incontinence in which a person is usually aware of the need to urinate, but for one or more physical or mental reasons they are unable to get to a bathroom. The loss of urine can vary, from small leakages to full emptying of the bladder.
There are a number of causes of functional incontinence. These include confusion, dementia, poor eyesight, impaired mobility or dexterity or unwillingness to use the toilet due to depression or anxiety. Functional incontinence is more common in elderly people as many of the causes are associated with conditions that affect people as they age. For example a person with Alzheimer’s disease may not plan well enough to reach a bathroom in time or may not remember how to get to the bathroom.
It’s summer and time to get out and about and have a swim! Adaptawear stock a range of swimwear dedicated to handling incontinence. Do take a look at our men’s, ladies and unisex range of incontinence swimwear for adults and teens designed to protect from both urine and faecal incontinence.
For more information on incontinence please visit our sister company’s website Incontinence UK which stocks a wide range of incontinence products or read our latest factsheet on all things to do with incontinence.