The 6 Types of Urinary Incontinence

There are different types of urinary incontinence, each with distinct symptoms and causes. Explore six types of urinary incontinence, including those related to neurogenic bladder.

The 6 Types of Urinary Incontinence

Learn about different types of urinary incontinence

As you learn more about your neurogenic bladder dysfunction or bladder disorder, you probably know that one of the symptoms is incontinence. What you may not know is that there are different types of incontinence, each having different causes. 

What is incontinence?

If bladder control is lost and urine leakage occurs, it is called incontinence. Urinary incontinence can occur in people of all ages, and for a variety of reasons. Some, but not all, people with neurogenic bladder experience incontinence. 

Types of incontinence

The main types of urinary incontinence are stress, urge, mixed, overflow, and functional. Reflex incontinence is another type caused by an injury to the spinal cord.

Incontinence Type Common Symptoms Common Causes
Stress Urine loss during activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping, or lifting Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, pelvic radiation, surgical trauma
Urge An occasional sudden need to urinate with large volume urine loss; can also exist without incontinence May be associated with pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, pelvic trauma, and neurologic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
Mixed Combination of stress and urge incontinence A combination of any of the stress or urge incontinence common causes listed above
Overflow A frequent dribble of urine due to inefficient bladder emptying; symptoms are similar to stress incontinence Many causes, such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, neurological damage, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or an enlarged prostate
Functional Urine loss not associated with any pathology or problem in the urinary system Associated with physical or cognitive impairment such as immobility, Alzheimer’s disease, or head injury
Reflex Reflex (spastic bladder) incontinence happens when the bladder fills with urine and an involuntary reflex causes it to contract in an effort to empty Usually occurs when the spinal cord is injured above the area medically labeled as the “T12” level

Your type of incontinence

If you’re experiencing incontinence, see your doctor. He or she can perform tests to diagnose your bladder condition and determine whether you may have neurogenic bladder dysfunction.