Mixed Incontinence Explained

Mixed Incontinence Explained

Mixed incontinence is a combination of symptoms that affects one-third of all incontinent women. It is most common in women who have both stress urinary incontinence and urge incontinence. 

The main cause of both types of incontinence is damage to the bladder or nervous system, which causes the loss of urine when pressure is placed on the bladder (stress incontinence). When this pressure is increased, there is also an involuntary action that creates leakage (urge incontinence). Combined behavioral modification, the use of reusable bed pads, pelvic floor muscle therapy, and pharmacotherapy are effective treatment options for these types of incontinence.

Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence, also called SUI, is one of the most common types of female incontinence. It happens when the pelvic floor muscles or bladder sphincter muscle weaken, making it more difficult to control the flow of urine from your bladder.

Normally, the bladder expands as it fills with urine and valve-like muscles in your urethra (the short tube that carries urine from your body) stay closed to keep it full until you get to a restroom. But when your sphincter and pelvic floor muscles become weak, anything that puts pressure on them can cause you to leak urine.

SUI often occurs during activities that put more pressure on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing or running. You may not notice leakage every time you do these things, but you may start to feel it after a while.

Urge Urinary Incontinence

Urge urinary incontinence (UI) is a condition that involves a sudden, strong need to pass urine. It can occur in both men and women.

It can make it difficult to go to the bathroom and can interfere with daily activities and relationships. It can also cause embarrassment.

If you have urge incontinence, you need treatment to reduce the amount of leakage and prevent it from getting worse. Your doctor will help you determine the right treatment for you.

Medications, bladder training and other behavioral changes can improve symptoms. You may need to try them for several months before you see any improvement.

Another way to treat urge incontinence is with a drug called Botox. This is injected into the detrusor muscle and decreases unwanted bladder contractions. It can be effective in many adults.

Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition in which your body contracts the muscles of your bladder involuntarily, making it difficult to hold your urine. It's a common symptom in women.

The cause of OAB can be many things, including a change in the way your body senses your bladder. It may also be caused by a physical problem that makes it harder for your body to halt involuntary muscle contractions, such as nerve damage or an infection that affects your bladder.

Depending on the cause of your OAB, your doctor may prescribe medication or other therapies. For example, physical therapists often perform pelvic floor exercises to strengthen and train your bladder to hold your pee better.

Surgery to increase the capacity of your bladder can relieve OAB and other urinary symptoms, especially if they don't improve with medications or nerve stimulation. It can be a quick, simple procedure performed in the office. The doctor will insert a wire near your bladder's nerves to deliver comfortable, low-frequency electrical stimulation.

Pelvic Floor Disorders

The pelvic floor is the group of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue that supports your bowel, bladder, uterus and vagina. Pelvic floor disorders include urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
Your doctor may recommend medications, supplements, dietary changes, physical therapy or surgery to treat a pelvic floor disorder. Your doctor will also do a series of tests to diagnose your condition and determine the best treatment for you.

Mixed incontinence occurs when you have both stress and urge urinary incontinence. This type of incontinence often affects one-third of women.

The first-line therapies for both types of incontinence are pelvic floor muscle exercises and behavioral training. These treatments are designed to strengthen weak urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles.