Incontinence is any unwanted loss of urine at any time, and any amount. So if you are not sitting on the toilet, wanting to go pee and urine comes out of you, that would be termed "incontinence."
Urine is stored in the bladder and our bladder signals our brain that it needs to empty and we then go to the washroom. What should happen when we sit down on the toilet is our pelvic floor muscles should relax and our bladder should contract to empty. 150 mil is usually when you get your first signal – a gentle hint that you may want to start thinking about a bathroom in the next hour or so. It continues to fill and will signal strongly between 200-300 mls. With a truly full bladder, the stream should be steady for about 10 to 15 seconds. Anything less than that, it's probably not full or it's not emptying properly.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
If you're laughing, coughing, sneezing, running, exercising, jumping or doing any sort of exertion where a little bit of urine leaks out, that is stress urinary incontinence and is typically due to a lack of synergy between the pelvic floor, the bladder, and managing intra- abdominal pressure. The pelvic floor muscles must contract 200 milliseconds before an increase in intra-abdominal pressure in order to maintain continence. Stress urinary incontinence is when there is not enough tone to close off the sphincter and/or the sphincter doesn’t close in time and therefore a little bit of urine leaks out.
Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI)
Urge urinary incontinence is when all of a sudden you feel an overwhelming urge to urinate and may not make it to the bathroom in time which can result in a bit of urine leaking out or a complete release of your bladder. This can happen even if the bladder is not full. Urgency occurs when there's too much activity in the muscle and it's signaling the brain to empty more often than it should. The bladder is a muscle that can be trained and oftentimes it starts to signal more often because of habits or behaviors.
Mixed Urinary Incontinence (MUI)
Mixed incontinence would be a combination of the SUI and UUI.
Fecal or Anal Incontinence (AI)
Less common and more life altering is anal incontinence where gas or stool leaks out of the body either with exertion or sometimes even at rest. This can result from poor muscle tone in the pelvic floor or damage to the anal sphincter.
If you are struggling with incontinence check out my free training to help you take back control of your bladder.