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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

Interstitial Cystitis

Recent research estimates that more than 4 million people in the U.S. suffer from symptoms of  interstitial cystitis (IC), a chronic bladder condition. For most of them, staying close to a bathroom is a necessity. On average, a healthy adult urinates no more than seven times a day and seldom needs to get up at night to use the bathroom. Someone with a severe case of IC, on the other hand, may urinate as frequently as 60 times in 24 hours, including multiple nighttime trips to the bathroom. Interstitial...

Read the Interstitial Cystitis 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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