Urinary Incontinence Types

Of the several types of urinary incontinence, stress, urge, and mixed incontinence account for more than 90 percent of cases. Overflow incontinence is more common in people with disorders that affect the nerve supply originating in the upper portion of the spinal cord and older men with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

The primary characteristics of these types are as follows:

  • Stress—urine loss during physical activity that increases abdominal pressure (e.g., coughing, sneezing, laughing)
  • Urge—urine loss with urgent need to void and involuntary bladder contraction (also called detrusor instability)
  • Mixed—both stress and urge incontinence
  • Overflow—constant dribbling of urine; bladder never completely empties

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 21 May 2014