Overflow incontinence is a condition when few drops of urine that comes out after you think you have finished peeing / emptying your bladder. This is sometimes called ‘dribbling’. Such a leakage can cause embarrassment as you dribble in your underpants. Urine leaks because there will be some more urine left in your bladder but you wouldn’t feel it. Such left over urine can also become a breeding ground for bacteria causing Urinary Tract Infection.
What causes overflow incontinence in women?
Incontinence is more common in women than men but specific overflow incontinence is more common in men than women. This is due to the enlarged prostate that typically happens in older men or removal of prostate can also cause overflow incontinence. Other causes of overflow incontinence include:
- Blockage of urethra, the tube that carries urine from bladder to outside the body, due to tumors, stones, growth of scar tissue, infection etc.
- Bladder prolapse can also cause overflow incontinence
- Weakened bladder muscles that can’t squeeze the bladder till it’s completely emptied out.
- Damage to the nerves which can hamper the communication between the bladder and brain
- Certain medications can lead to overflow incontinence.
Diagnosis of overflow incontinence
Typically, diagnosis of any medical condition starts with a sequence of questions. Similarly, diagnosis of overflow incontinence starts with questions related to frequency of urination, dribbling, past urinary tract infections, medications you are currently using etc.
Then, a physical examination will be done to check the nerves. If your gynaecologist thinks that the problem might be related to the nerves, he/she may refer you to a neurologist. Next, bladder stress test may be performed to check if you are losing urine when coughing or laughing (stress incontinence). A catheterization test may be performed in which a catheter will be inserted into the urethra to see if urine leaks out. Other tests may include urinalysis to check from the presence of infection causing bacteria and an ultrasound to see if other organs are functioning fine.
Treatment of overflow incontinence
Medicines may be given to help with overflow incontinence. You will also be advised to time your visit to the restroom to empty your bladder and once you think you have emptied your bladder, you will be advised to stay put for another 30 seconds so that the dribbling of urine can happen while you are in restroom.
If the overflow incontinence is caused by an obstacle in the bladder or urethra, a surgery may be required to help you with the problem.