Stress, urge or overflow – what kind of incontinence do you have?

Stress, urge or overflow – what kind of incontinence do you have?

So maybe you leak occasionally. But do you know exactly what type of incontinence you have?

Knowing what kind of incontinence you’re experiencing is vital to choosing the right management products and ensuring you get the right treatment, because different types have different causes and remedies.


two most common types of incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

Less common types are overflow incontinence, functional incontinence and reflex incontinence. 

Stress incontinence 
Do you sometimes leak when you’re exercising, sneezing or coughing? This kind of bladder leakage is called stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when you lose urine after pressure is placed on your abdomen during exercise, sexual activity, sneezing, coughing, laughing or hugging. It's very common in women, often as a result of weakened pelvic floor muscles from childbirth. Men often experience stress incontinence after surgery for prostate cancer. Over time, pelvic floor exercises (aka kegel exercises) can work wonders for restoring pelvic floor strength and reducing stress incontinence, but many people find reusable absorbent underwear are a great way of managing leaks while they’re working towards a stronger pelvic floor.  

Urge incontinence 
Do you sometimes feel a sudden, incontrollable need to urinate, and leak a little before you make it to the toilet? If so, you’re probably experiencing urge incontinence, otherwise known as an unstable bladder or overactive bladder. It is caused when the main contractor muscle in the bladder can’t properly control when to store or release urine. Sometimes stress and urge incontinence can occur together. To manage stress and/or urge incontinence, reusable absorbent underwear can be a great option, as it looks and feels just like regular underwear but you’re covered for any leaks when they happen.  

Overflow incontinence 
Does your bladder empty completely when you go to the toilet? If not, you may be experiencing overflow incontinence. Bladder dysfunction can be caused by some kind of obstruction to the bladder or urethra, or a lack of proper bladder contraction, leading to overflow incontinence. As a result, your bladder may not empty completely when you go to the toilet, which can cause frequent urine leakage. Overflow incontinence can be caused by medications, spinal injury or conditions such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Because it often leads to frequent small leaks, reusable absorbent underwear is an ideal product for managing these leaks.

Functional incontinence 
Functional incontinence occurs when you have control of your own urination, and have a fully functional urinary tract, but you can’t get to the bathroom in time due to a physical or cognitive disability. Some conditions that can cause functional incontinence are arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Depending on the cause and severity of the condition, functional incontinence can be managed using single-use

incontinence products

or reusable absorbent underwear.

Reflex incontinence 
Reflex incontinence is a loss of bladder control without any warning. It’s usually caused by some kind of neurological impairment that stops the brain from realizing that the bladder is filling up. This can be caused by things like spinal cord injuries, damage from surgery, or damage from radiation treatment. Reflex incontinence can often involve large amounts of leakage, and may be best managed using high-absorbency disposable diapers.

So now you know a bit more about the different types of incontinence. To find out what your treatment options are, talk to your family doctor or medical professional.

you may like




    Reusable men's incontinence pants with a slimline absorbent and leakproof pouch designed for everyday protection against minor drips and dribbles. Now available in iron grey or black pinstripe.
    Shop now



    Men's washable incontinence underwear, lab-verified to provide superior leakproof protection for light-to-moderate bladder leakage.
    Shop now



    This multi-tasking washable period-proof and pee-proof underwear has been lab-verified to absorb more than ten teaspoons!
    Shop now