There are four types of incontinence... which one do you have?

There are four types of incontinence... Which one do you have?

Incontinence is a problem that many people suffer from, but few talk about. It can be embarrassing and difficult to deal with, but it doesn’t have to be. There are four types of incontinence: stress, urge, overflow, and functional. Each type has its own causes and treatment methods. In this blog post, we will discuss each type of incontinence and how to best treat them!

First, what are the first signs of incontinence?

There are a few different types of incontinence, but the most common is urinary incontinence. The first signs of this type of incontinence are usually leaking during activities such as coughing, sneezing, or laughing. As the condition progresses, you may also begin to leak when you stand up or move around. 

Incontinence can also affect your ability to hold your urine. You may find yourself needing to go more frequently, and you may have accidents if you don’t make it to the bathroom in time. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so they can determine the cause and develop a treatment plan. Incontinence is a very treatable condition, but it’s important to get help as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your urinary system.

The 4 types of incontinence

  1. Stress incontinence is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles, often due to childbirth or age. Kegel exercises can help strengthen the muscles and prevent leakage during activities like running or coughing.
  2. Urge incontinence is a sudden, strong need to urinate that cannot be controlled. Medication and bladder training can help to better control the urge and prevent accidents.
  3. Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder is always full, causing leakage even without the urge to urinate. This can be caused by an obstruction in the bladder or nerve damage.
  4. Functional incontinence is when a physical or mental disability affects one’s ability to reach the bathroom in time. Assistive devices and scheduled bathroom breaks can help manage this type of incontinence.

The #1 cause of incontinence

According to the Mayo Clinic, weak pelvic floor muscles are the number one cause of incontinence. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the bladder and bowel. These muscles can be weakened by pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, and aging. When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they may not be able to properly support the bladder and bowel, leading to incontinence. There are a number of treatments available for incontinence, but the best way to prevent it is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This can be done through physiotherapy to help reduce or eliminate incontinence.

How physiotherapy can be an effective treatment

Also known as pelvic floor physiotherapy, this type of therapy uses exercises and other techniques to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder. This can help to increase bladder control and reduce the frequency and severity of incontinence episodes. In addition, physiotherapy can help to improve bowel function and sexual function. If you’re struggling with incontinence, talk to your doctor about whether physiotherapy might be right for you.

Pain courtesy of Oakmont Physiotherapy Clinic (Read the caption)

What happens if incontinence is left untreated?

Left untreated, incontinence can have a number of deleterious effects on one’s health. For starters, the constant wetness can lead to skin irritation, cuts, and even wounds. In addition, the bacteria that thrive in moist environments can cause infections. These infections can range from mild skin infections to more serious urinary tract infections. In extreme cases, untreated incontinence can even lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to infection. Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments available for incontinence, so it is important to seek help if you or a loved one is struggling with this condition. By getting the treatment you need, you can avoid the potential complications of untreated incontinence and live a happy and healthy life.

In conclusion, Incontinence is a very common and treatable condition, and the best way to prevent it is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help improve bladder control and reduce incontinence symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with incontinence, talk to your doctor or pelvic floor physiotherapist. To find a pelvic floor physiotherapist near you just click the “Find a Clinic Near Me” button somewhere on this page.


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

For some people, drinking more water can actually improve bladder control and prevent urinary tract infections. It is always best to speak with a medical professional about the specific needs of your body.

There is no cure for incontinence in the elderly, as it often occurs due to age-related changes in the body. However, there are a number of treatments available to manage and improve incontinence symptoms. These include pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, and assistive devices.

The answer is yes, incontinence can get worse with age. As we grow older, our bodies change in various ways and some of these changes can lead to a decrease in bladder control. For example, muscles supporting the bladder may weaken over time, resulting in decreased urinary control. The walls of the bladder may become thicker and less elastic.

About Jennifer Liu

Jennifer Liu graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy. She has her acupuncture designation from the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute and she has taken various manual therapy courses. Jennifer also received additional training in ROST therapy which is a technique used to treat sacroiliac pain during pregnancy. She has recently completed training in the treatment for pelvic floor conditions like incontinence and tailbone or pelvic pain.

Currently she treats injuries and pain related to motor-vehicle accidents, work accidents, osteoarthritis, degenerative changes, pelvic floor rehabilitation and recreational sports, just to name a few. Jennifer is fluent in English, Cantonese and conversational Mandarin.

Jennifer has had the privilege of volunteering in Asia with several medical aid organizations to provide physiotherapy to children in orphanages, as well as to adults who suffered from burn injuries. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her young family, trying new recipes, drinking coffee, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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