Incontinence words and terminology.


Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is the involuntary urination while asleep after the age at which staying dry at night can be expected.  Nocturia is the need to get up to void frequently during the night.

Bladder diary

Also known as fluid intake and bladder diary. The level of fluid intake will directly affect the amount of urine produced. Keeping a record for 3 days of how often urine is passed, the amount and how much has been drunk and type of drinks consumed and when can help you and medical professionals to assess the level and type of urinary incontinence and treatment required. For example if the individual need to empty the bladder more than 8 times in 24 hours this could indicate urge urinary incontinence or something else that needs to be fully diagnosed and treated.

Bladder retraining

Bladder retraining is a behavioural technique designed to increase the capacity of the bladder and decrease the frequency of urination. Over time, the bladder becomes less irritable and able to cope with larger volumes of urine. A bladder diary (also known as a fluid intake and bladder diary) is the first step in assessing urge urinary incontinence and setting up a course of bladder retraining.

Bladder weakness

Bladder weakness (also referred to as a weak bladder) is when there is difficulty in controlling the bladder, resulting in an involuntary loss of urine. There are many different reasons for female bladder weakness and male bladder weakness. The correct medical terminology for bladder weakness is urinary incontinence.


Constipation is generally defined as having difficulty, delay or pain in passing a stool and the stool doesn’t have to be hard for this to happen. It’s quite common during childhood.

Continence care

Continence care is about helping an individual control their bladder or bowel functions. This means identify the causes of incontinence (whether temporary or chronic). This includes thinking about the environmental factors and required support, and detecting any underlying conditions that may be causing the incontinence. In order to set objectives and plan the care for improvement. Continence care promotes continence and aim to prevent further incontinence with individualised care routines, toileting and sometimes incontinence products.  

Dermatologically tested

The process of testing to ensure products are skin friendly under real life conditions.


Enuresis is the involuntary loss of urine. If the incontinence occurs during sleep at night it is referred to as nocturnal enuresis.

Functional incontinence

This is an inability to reach the toilet in time because of the difficulties caused by physical or mental illness or environmental barriers.  It could be physical impairments related to ageing or disability like inability to remove clothing quickly enough or transfer from a wheelchair to a toilet quick enough. Environmental barriers to reaching the toilet in time could be a too long distance to reach the toilet in time or people with confusion not knowing how to get to the toilet. 


Incontinence or being incontinent can refer to both urinary incontinence and faecal incontinence.

Incontinence treatments

There are many kinds of recommended urinary incontinence treatments and methods. One method is lifestyle interventions, such as bladder training or pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME) which strengthen your core muscles. Changing the fluid intake and emptying pattern or weight loss can also often help.

Irritable bladder

Irritable bladder is a descriptive name for a range of problems connected to urgency. It doesn’t mean incontinence, simply that you have to urinate frequently. An irritable bladder, sometimes also called overactive bladder, usually means you have a high daytime frequency, and often also nocturia. Remember, it is normal to empty the bladder 4-8 times a day. 


The period that marks the permanent cessation of menstrual activity.


The act of urinating (voiding, or passing urine).

Mixed incontinence

Quite literally, this is mixed symptoms usually it’s a combination of Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence. The urge makes the bladder contract but the pelvic muscles are not strong enough to prevent the bladder emptying. This often occurs simultaneously in women.  If you happen to have both types, there is usually one that causes more of a problem than the other, so you should focus on dealing with the most frequent symptom first.

Neurogenic bladder

Several muscles and nerves work together to enable urinary continence and effective control of emptying the bladder. Damage to the brain, spinal cord or nerves can affect the way the brain and bladder communicate. This results in an inability to control the bladder or empty it completely. 


Is when you need to wake up at night one or more times to urinate.

Overactive bladder (OAB)

Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a common descriptive name for a range of problems connected to urgency. It doesn’t mean incontinence, simply that you have to urinate frequently. An overactive bladder, sometimes also called irritable bladder, usually means you have a high daytime frequency, and often also nocturia. Remember, it is normal to empty the bladder 4-8 times a day. Over active bladder is more common among older people and among women.

Overflow incontinence

Overflow urinary incontinence occurs when the bladder cannot empty completely, and then gets filled with residual urine. Urethra obstruction and/or a bladder muscle that is stretched out and filled over its capacity can cause over expansion of the bladder and then involuntary leakage. Prostate enlargement in men is a common cause of overflow urinary incontinence. But there could be other reasons like e.g. nerve damage.

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor muscle exercise (PFME) involves the contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles to improve bladder support and closure pressure of the urethra.  Strengthening the pelvic floor is the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of any type of incontinence. Pelvic floor exercises are sometimes referred to as Kegel exercises.

Pelvic floor muscles

The pelvic floor muscles (or pelvic muscles) are a group of muscles at the bottom of the abdominal cavity. They are located between the pubic bone (at the front) and the base of your spine (at the back). They also support the bladder and bowel. Weakening of these muscles can lead to problems such as urinary incontinence and, if the anal closure muscle is affected, faecal incontinence.

Post-micturition dribble (PMD)

Post-micturition dribble (PMD) is the term used when an individual describes the involuntary loss of urine immediately after he or she has finished passing urine. For men this usually happens after leaving the toilet and for women after rising from the toilet. This is also common with an enlarged prostate or weakened pelvic floor muscles.

Residual urine

Urine that still is in the bladder after urinating. 

Sensitive bladder

Often used to describe light bladder weakness or more correct; urine leakage.

Urinary retention

Urinary retention is due to emptying difficulties and means that there is still urine in the bladder after urinating, this could be caused by for example an enlarged prostate.  Symptoms of bladder emptying difficulties could be a poor urinary stream, which could include intermittent flow, straining and a delay between trying to urinate and the flow actually beginning. As the bladder remains full, this may lead to overflow incontinence.

Urinary stress incontinence

Urinary Stress Incontinence describes the complaint of the involuntary leakage of urine (bladder weakness) following physical effort.  This effort can include physical exertion, or actions such as coughing, sneezing or laughing. Stress Incontinence usually only involves small amounts of urine, but is dependent upon how full the bladder is when the abdominal pressure occurs.  Stress incontinence is generally connected to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and can be a result of physical changes occurring during pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Urinary stress incontinence in women is also referred to as stress urinary incontinence or stress incontinence.