What is overflow incontinence?

Meenakshi Jain, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Overflow incontinence is the inability to completely empty the bladder, says Meenakshi Jain, MD, specializing in gynecology at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Learn more about this condition in this video.
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Overflow incontinence is more common in men. If your bladder never completely empties, you might experience urine leakage, with or without feeling a need to go. Overflow incontinence occurs when something blocks urine from flowing normally out of the bladder, as in the case of prostate enlargement that partially closes off the urethra. It can also occur if the bladder muscle becomes underactive (the opposite of an overactive bladder) so you don't feel an urge to urinate. Eventually the bladder becomes overfilled, or distended, pulling the urethra open and allowing urine to leak out. The bladder might also spasm at random times, causing leakage.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.