The Inside Scoop on Incontinence #3: Overflow Incontinence

June 11, 2024

What is Overflow Incontinence?

Overflow incontinence is a urinary incontinence that is defined by the involuntary release of urine due to an overfilled bladder that cannot empty properly. This condition often results in a constant dribbling of urine and a sensation of incomplete bladder emptying. It occurs when the bladder is unable to hold all the urine produced by the kidneys, leading to frequent or continuous leakage.

Causes of Overflow Incontinence 

The primary causes of overflow incontinence are typically related to obstructions or weaknesses in the bladder or urethra. In men, an enlarged prostate gland, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a common cause. The enlarged prostate can obstruct the flow of urine, making it difficult for the bladder to empty completely. Other potential causes include urethral stricture, which is a narrowing of the urethra, bladder stones, tumors, or severe constipation that presses against the urinary tract. In both men and women, neurological conditions such as spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, or diabetic neuropathy can impair the nerves that control bladder function, leading to overflow incontinence.

Treatment for overflow incontinence focuses on addressing the underlying cause of the condition and relieving urinary retention. If an enlarged prostate is the culprit, medications such as alpha-blockers or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors may be prescribed to reduce prostate size and improve urine flow. In some cases, minimally invasive procedures may be necessary to remove part of the prostate. For obstructions like bladder stones or strictures, surgical intervention may be required to remove the blockage and restore normal urine flow.

In cases where neurological conditions are responsible, management may involve intermittent catheterization to regularly empty the bladder, preventing overdistension and reducing the risk of leakage. Long-term use of a catheter, either intermittent or indwelling, might be necessary for some patients. Additionally, medications that enhance bladder contractility or relax the sphincter can be beneficial.

Incontinence Solutions at Austin Urology Institute

Our team of experts led by one of Austin’s best urologists, Dr. Shaw, provide our patients with a suite of incontinence solutions to meet their medical needs.

If you are struggling with incontinence, you don’t have to! Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.