Are there different types of urinary incontinence?

Yes.

  • Stress incontinence — leakage happens with coughing, sneezing, exercising, laughing, lifting heavy things, and other movements that put pressure on the bladder. It is the most common type of incontinence. It can be treated and sometimes cured.
  • Urge incontinence — this is sometimes called “overactive bladder.” Leakage usually happens after a strong, sudden urge to urinate. The sudden urge may occur when you don’t expect it, such as during sleep, after drinking water, or when you hear running water or touch it.
  • Functional incontinence — leaking because you can’t get to a toilet in time. People with this type of incontinence may have problems thinking, moving, or speaking that keep them from reaching a toilet. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s disease may not plan a trip to the bathroom in time to urinate. A person in a wheelchair may be unable to get to a toilet in time.
  • Overflow incontinence — leaking urine because the bladder doesn’t empty completely. Overflow incontinence is less common in women.
  • Mixed incontinence — two or more types of incontinence together, most often stress and urge incontinence.
  • Transient incontinence — leaking urine for a short time due to an illness such as a bladder infection. Leaking stops when the illness is treated.