Overflow Incontinence in Women - Topic Overview
Overflow incontinence is the involuntary release of
urine-due to a weak bladder muscle or to blockage-when the bladder becomes
overly full, even though the woman feels no urge to urinate.
Symptoms of overflow incontinence include:
- Sudden release of urine.
- A feeling
of fullness in the bladder even after urination.
- Leakage of urine
- A urine stream that stops and restarts during
- Difficulty urinating even while feeling the urge to
Overflow incontinence can be caused by conditions that affect the
nerves (such as
multiple sclerosis) and alter a person's ability to
sense bladder fullness or that reduce the ability of the bladder to contract.
It can also be caused by a blockage in the
urinary tract , such as a
bladder stone or a urinary tract tumor that constricts
A thin, flexible tube (catheter) that allows urine to drain out is inserted
into the bladder through the urethra. Different types of catheters exist for
use by women with urinary incontinence.
- Intermittent self-catheterization: A woman inserts a
clean catheter when it is necessary to urinate, usually 3 or 4 times a day.
- Indwelling Foley catheter : A catheter remains in place
continuously. This type of catheter has a balloon on one end that is inflated
with sterile water after that end is placed inside the bladder. The inflated balloon
prevents the catheter from slipping out.
Urinary tract infections are more likely to occur with
long-term use of an indwelling catheter than with intermittent
Medicines are rarely used to treat overflow incontinence.
Surgery may be needed to correct problems that result in overflow
incontinence, such as obstructions or abnormal growths in the urinary tract.