overflow incontinence

Last reviewed 01/2018

Overflow incontinence is characterised by a continuous dribble of urine or leakage of small amounts on effort. Frequency and difficulty in voiding are early complaints.

Overflow incontinence is most commonly due to:

  • hypotonic bladder
  • chronic retention due to bladder outflow obstruction

It may also follow radical pelvic surgery.

Cystometry is required to confirm the diagnosis. The bladder accommodates excessive amounts of water with little increase in intravesical pressure. The terminal detrusor contraction is absent when asked to void.

Treatment is to facilitate bladder emptying. This includes removal of any obstruction and/or intermittent self-catherisation.