Total Incontinence

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Topic Overview

Total incontinence is the continuous and total loss of urinary control.

One cause is neurogenic bladder. This is a neurological problem that prevents the bladder from emptying as it should. Spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders that affect nerve function can also lead to total incontinence. In women it can be caused by a vesicovaginal fistula. This is an abnormal connection between the urinary tract and the vagina.


Total incontinence is usually treated by using a thin tube, called a catheter. You use it to empty the bladder regularly. This is called intermittent self-catheterization.

Absorbent products such as pads or disposable underwear are usually used when other methods of treating incontinence have failed or can't be used. These methods don't treat the incontinence. But they may make it possible to manage the problem.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAvery L. Seifert, MD - Urology

Current as ofAugust 21, 2015

Current as of: August 21, 2015