This FAQ is intended as a guide to commonly asked questions. You should always consult your health care provider regarding any bladder issues you are experiencing.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the medical term for being unable to control the release of urine.
What is neurogenic bladder?
Neurogenic bladder refers to a condition where neurological damage has led to bladder dysfunction.
What are the signs and symptoms of urinary incontinence?
Some typical signs and symptoms include:
- Involuntary leakage of urine without warning or without feeling the need to go to the toilet
- Involuntary leakage of urine when sneezing, coughing, laughing or exercising
- A sudden urge to rush to the toilet either before or when leaking urine
- The need to get up to pass urine two or more times a night (nocturia)
What causes urinary incontinence?
Potential causes include:
- Damage or weakness to the muscles in the pelvic floor (most commonly due to pregnancy and childbirth)
- Problems with the control of the bladder muscle (bladder overactivity and bladder underactivity)
- Neurogenic conditions that affect the voluntary release of urine (e.g. spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or spina bifida)
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Urinary tract infection
- Type 2 diabetes
Is urinary incontinence a natural part of aging?
It's important to know that not everyone experiences bladder problems and issues with urinary incontinence as they get older. Although incontinence becomes more common with advancing age, it is not just older people who are affected. Effective solutions are available, so it should not stop you from living a full and active life, whatever your age.
Can I still have a social life with urinary incontinence?
It is possible to manage incontinence effectively. A doctor or nurse should be able to help find a solution that makes it possible to continue a social life and everyday activities.
Can urinary incontinence be treated?
Most types of incontinence can be treated or improved through lifestyle changes, pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, medication or surgery. If a cure is not possible,or a temporary solution is required, products such as catheters, male external catheters (for men) or absorbent products may be very helpful in managing your symptoms.
What is a catheter?
A catheter can be used to ensure the bladder is completely emptied. It is a slim, flexible tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra enabling the urine to drain.
Learn more about Coloplast catheters
Why is it important to empty my bladder?
If your bladder is not emptied regularly, it can cause urinary tract infections. These start in the bladder but can move back to the kidneys and cause serious renal damage. Even small amounts of urine left in the bladder can cause infections.
Can I drink less so that I do not have to empty my bladder so often?
No. It is very important that you drink enough to keep the urinary system healthy. An adult should drink approximately 1500 mL per day and take in a total of about 3 liters including liquids in the daily diet or as instructed by your health care provider.
How can I tell if I have an urinary tract infection?
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection vary and may be subtle. They include:
- Dark-colored and strong-smelling urine
- Blood in the urine
- Cloudy urine
- Bladder spasms
- Increased muscle contractions in your leg
If you have any of the above symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider immediately.
What is the cause of frequent urinary tract infections?
Catheterization can cause urinary tract infections. However, compared to other catheter types such as permanent (indwelling) catheters, intermittent catheters are less likely to cause complications as compared to indwelling catheters.
How can I prevent catheter related urinary tract infections?
There are ways to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections from catheters:
- Ensure you have clean hands and equipment when catheterizing
- Drink sufficient amount of fluid during the day to wash out the urinary tract
- Make sure that the bladder is fully emptied every time you catheterize
- Speak to your healthcare provider about your catheterization frequency and technique
Find out more
View our catheterization guides
Learn more about products for managing urinary incontinence
These are general guidelines meant to help you with typical questions. You should follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider and the intermittent catheterization solution you are using.