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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Total Incontinence - Topic Overview

Total incontinence is the continuous and total loss of urinary control.

One cause is neurogenic bladder. This is a neurological problem that prevents the bladder from emptying as it should. Spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders that affect nerve function can also lead to total incontinence. In women it can be caused by a vesicovaginal fistula. This is an abnormal connection between the urinary tract and the vagina.

Recommended Related to Urinary Incontinence/OAB

Putting an Overactive Bladder to Bed

After a long day, you’ve settled down for a comfortable night’s sleep. You’re just drifting off when suddenly you feel a warm wetness between your legs -- something you haven’t felt since you were about 5 years old. You’ve wet the bed. For the approximately 16% of people over the age of 18 who have an overactive bladder (OAB), this kind of upsetting incident can become a regular occurrence. Even if they make it to the bathroom in time, they wake up so often to urinate that they aren’t getting a...

Read the Putting an Overactive Bladder to Bed article > >


Total incontinence is usually treated by using a thin tube, called a catheter. You use it to empty the bladder regularly. This is called intermittent self-catheterization.

Absorbent products such as pads or disposable underwear are usually used when other methods of treating incontinence have failed or can't be used. These methods don't treat the incontinence. But they may make it possible to manage the problem.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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