Health Questions and Answers

Question: Define overflow incontinence. What causes it?

Answer:

Overflow incontinence is the involuntary loss of small amounts of urine resulting from mechanical forces on an overdistended bladder or from other effects of urinary retention on bladder and sphincter function. Causes are anatomic obstruction by the prostate, stricture, or cystocele; acontractile bladder associated with diabetes mellitus or spinal cord injury; and neurogenic (detrusor-sphincter dyssynergy) associated with multiple sclerosis and other suprasacral spinal cord injury. 

Reference: Hazzard WR, et al (eds): Principles of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 5th ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2003.

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