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Total Incontinence - Topic Overview

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

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

Recommended Related to Urinary Incontinence/OAB

When You’re a Guest With Incontinence

They may be family -- but having an incontinence accident while staying in another person's home can be awkward and embarrassing. How do you explain the wet sheets? How can you dispose of used incontinence pads? Is incontinence keeping you from visiting friends and family? "One of my patients was afraid she would wet the bed," says May Wakamatsu, MD, chief of Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "She stopped sleeping at her daughter's house because of it...

Read the When You’re a Guest With Incontinence article > >

Treatment

Total incontinence is usually treated by using a thin tube (catheter) 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 cannot be used. These methods don't treat the incontinence but may make it possible to manage the problem.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 11, 2012
    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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