Bladder and Bowel Health

What is incontinence? Incontinence is the loss of control over one's bladder and/or bowel, resulting in leakage of urine and/or fecal matter.
  • Incontinence of the bladder, resulting in urine loss, is called "urinary incontinence" or "UI" for short.
  • Incontinence of the bowel, resulting in loss of gas or fecal matter, is called "fecal incontinence" or "bowel incontinence" or "accidental bowel leakage (ABL)".

Types of Incontinence

Learn about the different types of incontinence.

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Causes of Incontinence

Learn about the many things that may cause or worsen incontinence.

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Treatments & Management

Learn more about current treatments and management for incontinence.

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Who has incontinence?

You are not alone! According to recent reports by the US National Institutes of Health, approximately thirty-three million adult women and men who are living with or have experienced urinary incontinence in the US.   There are countless more living with fecal incontinence. And then there are those who are living with both bladder and bowel incontinence.  Statistics tell us that sometime during 2019, 500 million people will be living with incontinence globally.  And none of these statistics represent how many children are affected by incontinence.

One of the common myths about incontinence is that it only affects older people or women. Actually, men, women and children of all ages and races can experience incontinence. However, it is more common in older adults and women, especially women who have had children.

What causes incontinence?

Incontinence is not a disease in and of itself. Rather, it is a symptom of something else that is going wrong, or not working quite right, in the body.  That is why it is always important to see a doctor about any problems with incontinence or leakage of urine or fecal matter. Many things can contribute to having incontinence, and sometimes it is a combination of factors.

Determining what is causing your incontinence will require the assistance of a healthcare professional. Some of the things that can contribute to having incontinence (and this list is not exhaustive) are: constipation, medications, diabetes, obesity and prostate problem.

Learn more about what causes incontinence.

What types of incontinence are there?

There are different types of incontinence. The are two main types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which occurs when you laugh, sneeze, cough, or otherwise exert pressure on your pelvic floor
  • Urge incontinence, which occurs when you have a sudden and intense urge to urinate – even if you emptied your bladder a short while ago.

There is also mixed (both stress and urge), overflow, and functional incontinence.

Bowel incontinence is also called fecal incontinence and accidental bowel leakage. Some people have both bladder and bowel incontinence.

Learn more about all the types of incontinence.

What treatment and management options are available?T

There are many different treatment options available for both urinary and bowel incontinence, including (but not limited to) Kegel exercises, electrical stimulation, bulking agents, dietary changes, medication, injections, and several types of surgeries.

In some cases, incontinence can’t be treated/cured, and it must be managed using tools such as absorbent products and urine collection devices. It is important to speak with a nurse or doctor before attempting any treatment, or if you use products to manage incontinence.

Learn more about many treatment and management options available.

Buying Incontinence Products

If you are looking for information on how to purchase incontinence products and supplies, the kinds of products that are available for purchase (with or without prescription), which retailers mail/ship products to your home, etc., please link to our product website called Continence Central.  This website will lead you to many outstanding retailers and  manufacturers who offer excellent customer service, a wide range of incontinence products and accessories, and often with samples. You will also find information on product types, reimbursement for incontinence products, and other resources, too.