Urinary incontinence is the inability to control urination. It may be temporary or permanent, and can result from a variety of problems in the urinary tract. Urinary incontinence is generally divided into four types:
Often, more than one type of incontinence is present. When this occurs, it is called mixed incontinence. Because incontinence is a symptom, rather than a disease, it is often hard to determine the cause. In addition, a variety of conditions may be the cause.
The urinary system helps to maintain proper water and salt balance throughout the body:
The Process of Urination
The process of urination is a combination of automatic and conscious muscle actions. There are two phases: the emptying phase and the filling and storage phase.
The Filling and Storage Phase. When a person has completed urination, the bladder is empty. This triggers the filling and storage phase, which includes both automatic and conscious actions.
When the need to urinate becomes greater than one's ability to control it, urination (the emptying phase) begins.
The Emptying Phase. This phase also involves automatic and conscious actions.
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