What is Overflow Incontinence?

Are you affected by overflow incontinence?

overflow incontinenceSome people experience urine leaks throughout the day, or wetting the bed at night, and this can be down to overflow incontinence.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone, and urinary incontinence actually affects between three and six million people just in the UK. If you have overflow incontinence, don’t panic, as there are lots of ways to approach the problem.

First, let’s take a look at what overflow incontinence is, so that you can start tackling the problem with a clear idea of what’s going on with your body.

What is overflow incontinence?

Overflow incontinence means that your bladder fills up without you being aware of it, or being able to empty it properly.

While this means that you aren’t constantly feeling the discomfort of a full bladder, it leads to other kinds of unpleasant sensations. Because you don’t know when your bladder is full, you can experience the release of urine when you aren’t expecting it. This can feel embarrassing, and cause you to avoid social situations.

You might have problems with being unable to start and stop urinating properly; dribbling can occur for a while afterwards, so your trips to the loo might be a lot longer than they used to.

You can also feel a niggling sense that you haven’t completely emptied your bladder after going to the loo, causing you to have to go back. This is because the muscles that release urine from your bladder are weakened, and are not able to expel everything at once.

The condition is normally caused by this muscle weakness, or the urethra being blocked, so that urine can’t pass out of your body properly. It can also be due to nervous problems, so that your brain can’t tell when your bladder is full.

If you think you might have overflow incontinence, it is best to seek medical advice. However, don’t lose hope, as many people find simple ways to solve or cope with the problem.

Why do I have overflow incontinence?

While lots of kinds of incontinence are more common in women, overflow incontinence is more frequently experienced by men.

This is often due to an enlarged prostate. A condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland that is not related to cancer, and affects about half of all men over 75.

It’s not just men that experience overflow incontinence, though, and the condition also occurs in women. Weak bladder muscles are often the cause, following pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.
Some medical conditions can lead to overflow incontinence, including:

  • Nerve damage
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Tumours
  • Some medications, especially for mental disorders

You shouldn’t panic if you are experiencing overflow incontinence, as it doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious problem. It is always best to speak to your doctor if you are having problems with urination, though, so that all possible factors can be considered.

Your doctor can also carry out tests to confirm whether overflow incontinence is in fact the problem. A bladder stress test is a common way of doing this, which involves checking how much urine you leak when you cough. They may also test your urine to see if you have an infection.

How to relieve the symptoms

Don’t despair, as there are lots of things you can try doing to gain more control of the situation.

People with all kinds of urinary incontinence find that pelvic floor exercises are a great way of getting your bladder working better. These exercises strengthen the muscles surrounding your bladder, helping your bladder to expel everything at, and reducing leakages.

Another technique is bladder training, which involves regulating when you go to the loo. By going to the toilet every 2-3 hours, your bladder won’t overfill. Also, by not going overly often, you can gradually strengthen the muscles that keep everything in until you’re ready to release it.

In more severe cases, you might require medication or other treatments to fix the problem, such as medication or surgery. Your doctor will be able to ensure you get the right treatment, to help you put the problem in the past.

Coping with Symptoms

This type of incontinence can be frustrating, as you can find yourself feeling perfectly comfortable one minute, and having a leak the next. This uncertainty can lead to people becoming embarrassed to do the thing they would normally do, like going shopping or meeting friends.

smile-1591798_1920Overflow incontinence should not mean that you have to miss out on the things you enjoy, though. There are ways of keeping yourself dry and comfortable, so that no one else need know what’s going on down there.

Just click here and visit our shop to choose from a range of discrete pads that absorb any little leakages that occur throughout the day.

We also offer extra absorbent pants for women and men, which mean that accidents are kept under control. These can be worn just like normal underwear, and you don’t harm the environment (or your pocket!) by having to buy more all the time. You can simply wash them at the end of the day, and reuse them the next.

We have lots of resources about incontinence, so please browse our blog for more information.

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