Types of Incontinence

An introduction to different types of leaks and the best protective hygiene solutions to stay fresh and dry.

Recognizing Your Leakage Symptoms

If you're experiencing bladder leaks, it's helpful to identify which type of leakage you have, then talk to your healthcare provider to decide how best to treat it. Keep in mind that incontinence is not a disease. But it can be a sign or symptom of something else: an underlying condition, a side effect of a medication, or a result of a diet or lifestyle change. The sooner you recognize it, the sooner you can address it and improve your quality of life. Prevail® absorbent undergarments are with you every step of the way. Prevail is the #1 ranked protective hygiene brand in home healthcare*, and we're here to help you keep living your life with comfort and confidence.
*in market share by both units sold and dollars spent, based on data from GHX covering the last 4 quarters reported (Q1'17-Q4'17), wherein protective hygiene is defined as absorbent products for the management of incontinence in adults.

What Are the Different Types of Leaks?

There are many types of bladder leaks and they come with a range of symptoms. The good news is, there's a protective hygiene product for each one of them, so you can live an active life without Incontinence getting in the way.

H3: Stress Incontinence: Light Bladder Leakage

Symptoms
Light bladder leakage, or Stress Incontinence, means you're experiencing just a few droplets or occasional dribbles of urine, often during routine actions like sneezing, coughing, laughing, and exercising.

Common Causes:

  • Strenuous physical activities
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Pelvic surgery and trauma

Recommended Protective Hygiene Products

Just for Women:

  • Prevail® Pantiliner: Discreet protection for women with very light leakage who experience occasional droplets.
  • Prevail® Bladder Control Pads: Pads that offer light bladder leak protection in a range of absorbency including: light, moderate, maximum, and ultimate.
  • Prevail® Bladder Control Pad Overnight: These pads provide comfortable and reliable protection for overnight or extended-use.

Just for Men:

  • Prevail® Male Guards: Guards designed specifically for men, with an adhesive strip that holds them securely in place inside your underwear for maximum protection.

Urge Incontinence: Moderate and Frequent Bladder Leaks

Symptoms
Urge Incontinence is when you have spontaneous bladder spasms and contractions that make you feel the frequent, sudden need to urinate. Often, these urges are so strong that you can't get to the bathroom in time.

Common Causes:

  • Caffeine and carbonated drinks
  • Bladder stimulants & irritants such as alcohol
  • Sedatives, cold medicines, and high blood pressure medicines
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Urinary tract infection and cancer
  • Nerve dysfunction associated with trauma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury
  • Diseases of the nervous system including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

Recommended Protective Hygiene Products

Just for Women:

  • Prevail® Women's PurseReady Maximum Absorbency Underwear: This pretty lavender protective underwear delivers the look and feel of regular underwear and the performance of protective hygiene for moderate leakage.
  • Prevail® Underwear for Women: Maximum absorbency underwear just for women with a discreet and fast-absorbing core. The lavender color makes it as pretty as it is functional.
  • Prevail® Underwear for Women Overnight: This overnight underwear delivers the highest level of absorbency wrapped in cotton-enhanced comfort.

Just for Men

  • Prevail® Underwear for Men: This protective underwear is designed specifically for men to deliver maximum protection that feels like standard underwear.
  •  Prevail® Underwear For Men Overnight: Protective underwear that offers overnight and extended-use absorbency and cotton-enhanced material.

For Men and Women:

  • Prevail® Maximum Underwear: Protective underwear developed with our advanced core technology to give you maximum absorbency and odor control. This underwear is also available in size 2X-Large. 

Mixed Incontinence: Moderate and Frequent Bladder Leakage

Symptoms
If you're having bladder leaks due to routine actions like sneezing or laughing plus frequent, strong urges that don't allow you enough time to get to the bathroom, you may have Mixed Incontinence.

Common Causes:

  • A combination of the causes of Stress and Urge Incontinence

Recommended Protective Hygiene Products

Just for Women:

  • Prevail® Women's PurseReady Maximum Absorbency Underwear: This pretty lavender protective underwear delivers the look and feel of regular underwear and the performance of protective hygiene for moderate leakage.
  • Prevail® Underwear for Women: Maximum absorbency underwear just for women with a discreet and fast-absorbing core. The lavender color makes it as pretty as it is functional.
  • Prevail® Underwear for Women Overnight: This overnight underwear delivers the highest level of absorbency wrapped in cotton-enhanced comfort.

Just for Men

  • Prevail® Underwear for Men: This protective underwear is designed specifically for men to deliver maximum protection that feels like standard underwear.
  •  Prevail® Underwear For Men Overnight: Protective underwear that offers overnight and extended-use absorbency and cotton-enhanced material.

For Men and Women:

  • Prevail® Maximum Underwear: Protective underwear developed with our advanced core technology to give you maximum absorbency and odor control. This underwear is also available in size 2X-Large. 

Reflex Incontinence: Heavy Bladder Leakage

Symptoms
If it's hard to tell when you need to use the bathroom, resulting in a frequent loss of bladder control with little to no warning, you may have Reflex Incontinence. This is important to recognize as it can be a symptom of bodily trauma or greater illness.

Common Causes:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor

Recommended Protective Hygiene Products

For Men and Women:

  • Prevail® Specialty Sizes: These briefs are designed to fit the smallest to the largest wearers and come in a range of absorbencies, from maximum to ultimate.
  • Prevail Air Stretchable Brief: These briefs are designed with maximum plus absorbency and Microclimate Care to help maintain normal skin temperature and moisture at the skin's surface.
  •  Prevail® Breezers360°: These briefs offer ultimate absorbency and advanced technology like AirMax Deluxe, a breakthrough cloth-like fabric that provides ventilation and more complete protection.

Overflow Incontinence: Heavy Bladder Leakage

Symptoms
If your bladder always feels full, or you have a constant dribble of urine and an increased frequency and urgency to go to the bathroom, you might have Overflow Incontinence. This occurs when the urine passageway is blocked.

Common Causes:

  • Bladder injury
  • Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)
  • A narrowing of the urethra
  • Radical pelvic surgery
  • Nerve damage from diabetes
  • Medications with side effects

Recommended Protective Hygiene Products

For Men and Women:

  • Prevail® Specialty Sizes: These briefs are designed to fit the smallest to the largest wearers and come in a range of absorbencies, from maximum to ultimate.
  • Prevail Air Stretchable Brief: These briefs are designed with maximum plus absorbency and Microclimate Care to help maintain normal skin temperature and moisture at the skin's surface.
  •  Prevail® Breezers360°: These briefs offer ultimate absorbency and advanced technology like AirMax Deluxe, a breakthrough cloth-like fabric that provides ventilation and more complete protection.

Functional Incontinence: Heavy Bladder Leakage

Symptoms
Functional Incontinence occurs when your urinary system functions properly, but immobility or cognitive impairment prevents you from getting to the bathroom in time.

Common Causes:

  • Functional disability and psychological impairment
  • Environmental barriers like stairs, clothing, or wheelchair accessibility
  • Physical and mental disabilities, like immobility or cognitive impairments

Recommended Protective Hygiene Products

For Men and Women:

  • Prevail® Specialty Sizes: These briefs are designed to fit the smallest to the largest wearers and come in a range of absorbencies, from maximum to ultimate.
  • Prevail Air Stretchable Brief: These briefs are designed with maximum plus absorbency and Microclimate Care to help maintain normal skin temperature and moisture at the skin's surface.
  •  Prevail® Breezers360°: These briefs offer ultimate absorbency and advanced technology like AirMax Deluxe, a breakthrough cloth-like fabric that provides ventilation and more complete protection.

Bowel Incontinence: Heavy Leakage

Symptoms
If you're unable to control your bowel movements, you are experiencing Bowel – or Fecal – Incontinence. This leakage can be present at any age, though it's more common in the elderly population. And no matter how light it seems to be, bowel incontinence is considered heavy leakage, because it involves more than urine.

Common Causes:

  • Muscle damage caused by childbirth
  • Nerve damage from childbirth, bowel movement strain, spinal cord injury, or stroke
  • Chronic constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Scarred or stiffened rectum due to surgery, radiation treatment or bowel disease
  • Rectal prolapse

Recommended Protective Hygiene Products

For Men and Women:

  • Prevail® Specialty Sizes: These briefs are designed to fit the smallest to the largest wearers and come in a range of absorbencies, from maximum to ultimate.
  • Prevail Air Stretchable Brief: These briefs are designed with maximum plus absorbency and Microclimate Care to help maintain normal skin temperature and moisture at the skin's surface.
  •  Prevail® Breezers360°: These briefs offer ultimate absorbency and advanced technology like AirMax Deluxe, a breakthrough cloth-like fabric that provides ventilation and more complete protection.

Don't Be Afraid to Talk About Leakage

People with leaks often feel uncomfortable discussing such a private matter with their healthcare provider. We get that. But remember, your healthcare provider has heard it all before, and they can be a trustworthy and supportive partner in your treatment. And in the meantime, Prevail protective hygiene products can help you live your life with comfort, control, and confidence.

Have more questions? Our Prevail® eNurse support team is available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns you have about leakage or product selection. Start an online chat or give a nurse a call at 866-573-3776 for around-the-clock care. 

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eNurse

Have a question? Our eNurse team is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether you're experiencing leaks for the first time, caring for a loved one with incontinence, or a veteran healthcare professional with questions, our team of licensed nurses have heard it all, and are ready to lend their confidential, respectful, and personalized expertise at any time.

Contact us anytime at 866-573-3776 or chat with us live Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET.