Frequently Asked Questions on Adult Incontinence

What is incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It is the inability to hold urine in the bladder because voluntary control over the urinary sphincter is either lost or weakened.
What are the common causes of incontinence?
Incontinence can either be temporary and chronic.
  • Temporary incontinence is commonly caused by:
    - Childbirth
    - Limited mobility
    - Medication side-effects
    - Urinary tract infection
  • Chronic incontinence is commonly caused by:
    - Birth defects
    - Bladder muscle weakness
    - Blocked urethra
    - Brain or spinal cord injury
    - Nerve disorders
    - Pelvic floor muscle weakness
What are the different types of incontinence?
  • Stress Incontinence: It is an involuntary loss of small amounts of urine when you cough, laugh, lift or exercise. It can be caused by multiple vaginal births, enlarged prostate, pelvic trauma or loss of pelvic muscle tone. We recommend using a Bladder Control Pad or Male Guard
  • Urge Incontinence: It is an inability to control urinating once you feel the need to void. Simply, you may feel the need to urinate but cannot wait to get to the bathroom. It can be caused by Alzheimer's, Parkinsonism, enlarged prostate, spinal cord injuries or urinary tract infections. We recommend using a Bladder Control Pad or Protective Underwear.
  • Reflex Incontinence: This is frequent loss of urine with no warning. This is due to spinal cord injuries, brain tumors or strokes. We recommend using Protective Underwear or Adult Briefs.
  • Overflow Incontinence: Leakage of urine when the bladder is full. For example the person experiences dribbling, frequency, urgency and bladder distention. It is most commonly caused by diseases that cause a blockage of the natural passageway of urine. We recommend using a Bladder Control Pad or Protective Underwear.
  • Functional Incontinence: It is caused by factors outside the urinary tract, such as immobility or cognitive impairment. These individuals would be continent if the external factor were eliminated. We recommend using Protective Underwear or Adult Briefs.
  • Mixed Incontinence: It is a combination of forms of incontinence, such as mixed stress and urge incontinence. We recommend using Protective Underwear or Adult Briefs.
What are the different Levels of Incontinence?
  • Light Incontinence: Includes symptoms of stress incontinence and overflow incontinence. Light incontinence usually refers to leaking four fluid ounces of urine or less in one episode.
  • Medium Incontinence: Includes symptoms of overflow incontinence, where the bladder is completely full beyond capacity and four to ten fluid ounces of urine is released as the person has a sudden urge to begin urinating. Medium, also called moderate incontinence, is more fluid loss than light incontinence but not full bladder loss.
  • Heavy Incontinence: Includes total loss of voluntary urination control. Sometimes this means that the person doesn't get the feelings that the bladder needs to be emptied. This might also be constant leakage of urine. Heavy incontinence typically refers to full bladder loss.
  • Overnight Incontinence: Refers to incontinence at night, and usually means full bladder loss at night.
  • Fecal incontinence or bowel incontinence: Means partial or full loss of bowel control.
How is incontinence evaluated?
  • Developing a treatment plan will include your urinary pattern.
    - How frequently do you go?
    - How much do you pass?
    - What time of day are you urinating and are you waking at night to go to the bathroom?
    - What are your family history and your physical and cognitive limitations?
  • You can be tested to determine if there are potential urinary problems that are causing your incontinence. This can be determined easily by testing for blood in the urine.
  • You may also be asked to monitor your fluid intake and urine output for a period of time to identify any underlying issues.
What are the different types of disposable incontinence products?
  • Disposable Brief: These are adult dipaers with tape tabs or velcro tabs and are the most absorbent product.
  • Protective Underwear: These are a pull up style diaper but are less absorbent than disposable briefs.
  • Belted Undergarments: They are long pads with a belt that goes around the waist to hold it in place and are for urinary protection.
  • Bladder Control Pads: These are usually peanut shaped and come in different sizes and absorbencies. All have waterproof barriers. Some are just for urinary incontinence and others are for both urinary and bowel incontinence.
  • Light Pads: They are a bladder control pad used by individuals who experience light bladder leaking but who have bladder control.
  • Day Heavy Pads: They are large bladder control pads that are used during the day for both bladder or bowel incontinence.
  • Night Super Pads: They are large pads that are used at night for both bladder or bowel incontinence.
  • Shield and Guards: They are designed for men for urinary incontinence.
  • Bed Pads or Disposable Underpads: They are used to protect the sheets from being soiled.
  • Diaper Boosters: These are rectangular pads that can be used inside of a brief to increase absorbency. They do not have waterproof barriers or adhesive.
  • Liners: They are rectangular pads that can be used in any brief or panty and do have a waterproof barrier and an adhesive strip on the bottom.