Overflow incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine when the bladder becomes overfull due to a secondary health concern. Essentially when urine is added to a bladder that is at its capacity, the excess urine will spill out causing urinary leakage or a wetting accident. Overflow incontinence is one of several types of urinary incontinence, and is most common in older men.
What causes overflow incontinence?
Overflow incontinence is generally caused by a health condition that is restricting the normal flow of urine. For men, this blockage may be caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. Urine flow may also be hindered by damage to the spinal cord that has resulted in a bladder that cannot contract effectively. Urinary retention is another contributor which can result from several different factors. In itself, urinary retention can be an emergency condition.
Overflow incontinence risk factors include:
- Enlarged prostate.
- Blockage cause by bladder and kidney stones.
- Blockage caused by a prolapsed organ – bladder, uterus or rectum.
- Neurological damage.
- Disease states such as diabetes or MS.
- Pelvic surgery or trauma.
- Neurogenic bladder – The loss of sensation to determine when the bladder is full. This is due to damage or obstruction of sacral nerves.
Overflow incontinence diagnoses
When visiting a urologist, the provider will use several tools to assist in their diagnosis. To start, the provider will review the patient’s personal and family medical history, current symptoms, and perform a physical examination. In addition, a urinalysis will assist in determining if infection is present. The urologist will most likely request a Urodynamics evaluation to determine how well the bladder is storing and voiding urine.
Treatment options for overflow incontinence
The appropriate treatment option will depend on the underlying cause of overflow incontinence. Some factors can be treated by the urologist, or in conjunction with another specialist if a disease state is involved. Treatment options can include:
- Medications to relax or shrink the size of the prostate.
- Intermittent self-catherization for patients with neurogenic bladder.
- In-office procedures, such as Rezum or Urolift, to remove excess prostate tissue.
- Minimally invasive surgery to remove prostate tissue that is blocking the flow of urine.
- Minimally invasive surgery to correct prolapsed organs.
If you are experiencing urinary leakage or wetting accidents, contact Urology Austin to schedule a thorough evaluation.