Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Types of Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine that is sufficient to be a problem, and may present as any of the following types:

  • Transient incontinence is urine loss resulting from causes outside of or affecting the urinary system such as acute confusion, infection, atrophic urethritis or vaginitis, medications, psychological conditions, restricted mobility or stool impaction.
  • Urge incontinence is the involuntary passage of urine occurring soon after a strong sense of urgency to void. Stress incontinence is a loss of urine with coughing and or sneezing resulting in increased abdominal pressure.
  • Mixed incontinence is urine loss having features of both stress and urge. Functional incontinence is urinary leakage associated with inability to access the toilet because of impairment of cognitive and/or physical functioning or an environmental barrier.
  • Overflow incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine associated with bladder over-distention. Total incontinence is a continuous and unpredictable loss of urine.
  • Total incontinence is a continuous and unpredictable loss of urine.
Older Adults
Promoting Continence Using Prompted Voiding
Background Information