Education & Advice

Where to get advice about incontinence

Where to get advice about incontinence

Authored By David Wilson

If you feel you may have incontinence your best medical advice is from your doctor. You can also get great knowledge about incontinence and incontinence products from the Lille Healthcare team, or Continence NZ.

What you should ask your doctor:

  • What type of incontinence is being experienced?
  • What is the issue causing the incontinence?
  • What tests are required to confirm this diagnosis?
  • Is it temporary?
  • Are there changes you could make to improve the issue?
  • What treatments are available for this type of incontinence?
  • What products can I use to help with this incontinence? 

There are a number of types of incontinence and many ways to live with incontinence. Below is a list of the most common types and some useful information on each.

1. Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence refers to stress upon the sphincter and pelvic muscles. A person with stress incontinence will experience small urine loss from coughing, sneezing, laughing or physical activities such as running, lifting heavy objects or getting off a chair or bed. This is the most common type of incontinence and occurs mainly in women.

2. Urge Incontinence

A person with urge incontinence experiences sudden, urgent desires to urinate and is unable to ‘hold on’ and get to the toilet in time. Their incontinent episodes may occur often, but not always, and they may have a small bladder capacity. Urge incontinence is sometimes referred to as an ‘overactive bladder’ and leakage can occur unexpectedly, such as when touching water, hearing running water, or when urination is anticipated (when you arrive home and are putting your keys in the door, for instance).

3. Retention/Overflow Incontinence

A person with retention/overflow incontinence strains to pass urine, feels that their bladder hasn’t emptied completely, constantly dribbles and may suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections. Retention/overflow incontinence is common in males who have an enlarged prostate gland.

4. Functional Incontinence

Functional incontinence is the result of physical, psychological and/or environmental problems that affect a person’s ability to reach or use the toilet. Some of these problems include poor mobility, poor dexterity, loss of memory or even poor building design.

5. Reflex Incontinence

A person suffering reflex incontinence will find that their bladder has emptied without any warning or, in some cases, without any sensation that this has occurred. Reflex incontinence can often be the result of a spinal cord injury.

6. Nocturia and Nocturnal Enuresis

A person with nocturia will wake frequently during the night to go to the toilet and find that they have insufficient time to reach the toilet once they have woken. A person with nocturnal enuresis will lose urine while they are sleeping, usually at night.

If you feel that you have any of these types of incontinence, please contact your health professional for advice on choosing an appropriate aid.


Continence NZ

Continence NZ was established to provide a service to people with continence problems, caregivers, health professionals and the general public by providing information and education on continence topics.

Continence NZ has developed a service in an area that has largely been ignored in the past by health professionals and health providers. The sufferers have been too embarrassed or unable to access appropriate help and in a majority of cases, suffered in silence.

From small beginnings our annual public awareness campaign has developed into an effective method of promoting awareness of continence problems and providing access to professional help. This has been greatly assisted by the establishment of a national toll free 0800 HELPLINE. We also have a role in lobbying government to provide access to equitable, standardised continence services throughout New Zealand. Visit online at Continence NZ

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