Types of incontinence

Types of urinary incontinence

There are different types of urinary incontinence, depending on how and when you lose urine. This is related to which part of the lower urinary tract is affected (Fig. 1a and 1b).

Stress urinary incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) means that you lose urine during certain activities, like:

  • Coughing, sneezing, or laughing
  • Exercise like running or jumping
  • Lifting heavy things such as groceries

This happens because during these kinds of activities the pressure on your bladder increases. Your urethra or urinary sphincter cannot resist the pressure of a full bladder, and will leak urine.

Urgency urinary incontinence

Urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) happens when you get a sudden need to urinate which you cannot postpone. The bladder muscle contracts and you urinate when you do not want to.

Mixed incontinence

Your doctor may diagnose you with mixed urinary incontinence if you suffer from both SUI and UUI symptoms.