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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Overflow Incontinence

If you find yourself leaking urine during the day or even wetting the bed at night, you may be experiencing symptoms of overflow incontinence.

Overflow incontinence is one of several different types of incontinence, the inability to control urination. Overflow incontinence occurs when you are unable to completely empty your bladder; this leads to overflow, which leaks out unexpectedly. You may or may not sense that your bladder is full. The leakage, which can cause embarrassment and discomfort, is not the only problem. Urine left in the bladder is a breeding ground for bacteria. This can lead to repeated urinary tract infections.

Recommended Related to Urinary Incontinence/OAB

Living With Overactive Bladder

You're sitting in a meeting when you have the sudden urge to pee. Immediately. Or you can't sleep because your bladder wakes you up. Maybe you've canceled plans because you don't always make it to the bathroom on time. And you're embarrassed to talk about it. No need to feel shame, says Maude Carmel, MD, assistant professor of urology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "OAB [overactive bladder] is very common, and there are solutions." It affects nearly 4 in 10 women, according...

Read the Living With Overactive Bladder article > >

Causes of Overflow Incontinence

Unlike other types of incontinence, overflow incontinence is more common in men than women. The most common cause in men is an enlarged prostate, which impedes the flow of urine out of the bladder. Other possible causes of overflow incontinence include:

Diagnosis of Overflow Incontinence

If you have problems with incontinence, it's important to speak with your doctor. Determining the type you have and the best treatment for it will begin with describing the problem. Your doctor may ask questions such as:

  • How often do you go to the bathroom?
  • When you go to the bathroom, do you have trouble starting or stopping the flow of urine?
  • Do you leak urine during certain activities?
  • Do you leak constantly?
  • Do you leak urine before you get to the bathroom?
  • Do you experience pain or burning when you urinate?
  • Do you get frequent urinary tract infections?
  • Have you had a back injury?
  • Do you have a medical condition that could interfere with bladder function?
  • What medications are you taking?

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