Tinto logo

5 different types of incontinence

Profile photo of the author
Jojo Bierlein-Lodewyk
Pelvic health physical therapist

If you think you might have incontinence - however mild or severe your symptoms are - it can be helpful to figure out what kind of incontinence you’re experiencing. There are many different types of incontinence, and each come with their own unique causes and treatments.

There are five main types of incontinence:

1. Stress incontinence

If you’re involuntarily leaking urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze or exercise, it’s likely you’re experiencing stress incontinence.

2. Urge incontinence

If you often have a strong, sudden urge to pee and then involuntarily leak before you make it to the bathroom, you may well have urge incontinence.

3. Mixed incontinence

This refers to a combination of more than one type of incontinence, usually stress and urge.

4. Functional incontinence

If you have a physical or mental barrier that stops you getting to the toilet in time (e.g. an injury, arthritis, or dementia), this is called functional incontinence.

5. Overflow incontinence

If you find that your urine is dribbling out frequently or constantly, this might be because your bladder is not fully emptying when you go to the bathroom, which is called overflow incontinence.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, get in contact with your doctor or midwife. Often, these symptoms can get worse the longer they go unaddressed, so it really is a good idea to go sooner rather than later. There are many ways to improve your pelvic health long-term.