Total Incontinence

Topic Overview

Total incontinence is the continuous and total loss of urinary control.

One cause of total incontinence is neurogenic bladder, a neurological problem that prevents the bladder from emptying properly. Spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders that affect nerve function can also lead to total incontinence. Total incontinence in women can also be caused by a vesicovaginal fistula, an abnormal connection between the urinary tract and the vagina.

Treatment

Total incontinence is usually treated by using a thin tube (catheter) to empty the bladder regularly. This is called intermittent self-catheterization.

Absorbent products such as pads or disposable underwear are usually used when other methods of treating incontinence have failed or cannot be used. These methods don't treat the incontinence but may make it possible to manage the problem.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised September 11, 2012

Last Revised: September 11, 2012

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