Everything Incontinence

Understanding the Basics of Psychogenic Incontinence

When the Mind Affects the Bladder: Exploring Psychogenic Incontinence in Adults

Incontinence is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, but not all incontinence is the same. Psychogenic incontinence, a less commonly discussed type of urinary incontinence, is particularly intriguing as it highlights the powerful connection between the mind and the body.

Delve into the world of psychogenic incontinence, exploring its definition, prevalence, causes, diagnosis, treatment, management, and the best products to assist those afflicted.

What is Psychogenic Incontinence?

Psychogenic incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence where the loss of bladder control and urinary retention are primarily linked to psychological or emotional factors rather than a physical issue with the bladder or urinary tract. It is often a result of stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, anxiety, neurological disorders, cognitive dysfunction, micturition behavior, or other mental health conditions that can lead to involuntary urination.

How Common is Psychogenic Incontinence?

The prevalence of psychogenic incontinence can vary, but it is estimated to affect a significant portion of the population. According to the National Library of Medicine, psychogenic incontinence accounts for approximately 10% of all cases of incontinence. It can affect both men and women, with no significant gender bias. The average age at which psychogenic incontinence is typically diagnosed ranges from 30 to 60 years old, although it can occur at any age.

Causes of Psychogenic Incontinence

Psychogenic incontinence is primarily caused by underlying psychological or emotional factors. Some common causes include,

  • Stress and Anxiety: High-stress levels and anxiety can trigger involuntary bladder contractions, leading to leakage.
  • Depression: Depression may result in decreased awareness of bodily sensations, making it challenging to recognize the need to urinate in time.
  • Trauma or PTSD: Individuals who have experienced trauma or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may have heightened stress responses that affect bladder control.

Risk Factors That Could Eventually Lead to Psychogenic Incontinence

Recognizing early warning signs and risk factors for psychogenic incontinence is crucial for timely intervention. Some risk factors include:

  • Mental Health Issues: Individuals with a history of mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, are more susceptible.
  • Stressful Life Events: Significant life changes, like divorce, job loss, or the death of a loved one, can trigger psychogenic incontinence.
  • Past Trauma: A history of physical or emotional trauma may increase the risk.

How Psychogenic Incontinence is Diagnosed?

Diagnosing psychogenic incontinence can be complex, as it requires ruling out other potential causes of incontinence. Medical professionals typically use the following methods for diagnosis:

  • Medical History: A comprehensive medical history, including information about mental health, is crucial.
  • Physical Examination: A physical exam helps rule out physical causes of incontinence.
  • Psychiatry Evaluation: A psychologist or psychiatrist may assess the patient's mental health and ‌urinalysis to identify any underlying issues.

How is Psychogenic Incontinence Treated?

Treating psychogenic incontinence often involves a multidisciplinary approach, addressing both physical and psychological aspects. Treatment options include:

  • Urology Behavioral Therapy: Techniques such as pelvic floor exercises, voiding, Kegel exercises, vaginal weighted cones, and bladder training can improve bladder control.
  • Counseling and Psychotherapy: Therapy sessions can help individuals manage stress, anxiety, or depression contributing to incontinence.
  • Pharmacological Medications: In some cases, medications that address underlying mental health issues may be prescribed. These may include topical vaginal estrogen.

Ways to Manage Psychogenic Incontinence

Effective management strategies for psychogenic incontinence encompass various aspects of life. Here are some ways to manage it:

Lifestyle Changes


  • Regular Bathroom Breaks: Establishing a bathroom schedule can help prevent accidents.
  • Nighttime Waking: Setting an alarm to wake up for a bathroom trip can reduce nighttime leakage.

Environmental Changes

  • Bathroom Accessibility: Ensure easy access to the bathroom, especially during moments of increased stress.
  • Reduce Triggers: Create a calming environment at home and work to minimize stressors.

Assistive Devices

  • Bedside Commodes: A commode can provide a convenient option, especially for nighttime use.

Best Products to Help You Manage Psychogenic Incontinence

When selecting products for managing psychogenic incontinence, consider the following categories:

Protective Underwear

  • Protection Plus Extended Wear Overnight Protective Underwear - Heavy: These heavy protective disposable underwear are extremely comfortable and feel like everyday underwear while protecting against significant incontinence.
  • Dry Direct Ultimate Protective Underwear: Our top-rated, most absorbent underwear style, Dry Direct Ultimate Protective Underwear, is suitable for overnight usage and up to 10 hours of continuous wear. This premium incontinence product, which is also our flagship underwear, is leakproof, incredibly soft, and comfy.
  • TENA Extra Absorbency ProSkin Protective Underwear: These underpants are made to handle significant pee loss and offer respectable, safe, and comfortable protection. The exceptional security is a result of the Instadri skin-caring system technology, which quickly absorbs urine into the core and wicks away from the skin, ensuring that the wearer will stay dry and comfortable even when sitting or lying down for extended periods of time while reducing the likelihood of skin irritation.

Absorbent Pads

  1. Poise Ultimate Absorbency Day/Night Incontinence Pads Long Length: Designed for daytime and nighttime use, these pads feature an absorbent core that provides women with more coverage and wider protection than any light bladder leak pad.
  2. Poise Pads Ultimate Coverage: These contoured pads are one inch longer than the standard Ultimate Pad to provide extra protection for women. But with its uniquely absorbent core, these pads don’t sacrifice discretion or comfort.
  3. Poise Pads Maximum Absorbency: Crafted to contour specifically to the shape of a woman’s body, these maximum absorbency pads lock in fluid to offer more protection and longer-lasting comfort.

Ways to Prevent Psychogenic Incontinence

While some risk factors are beyond one's control, managing stress, maintaining good mental health, and seeking timely treatment for emotional trauma can reduce the risk of psychogenic incontinence.

FAQs About Psychogenic Incontinence

What Other Types of Incontinence Are There?

There are several types of incontinence, including stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence, and functional incontinence.

Are There Any Resources With More Information About Psychogenic Incontinence?

For more information and support, organizations like the National Association for Continence (NAFC) and the International Continence Society (ICS) offer valuable resources and guidance on managing psychogenic incontinence.

How Parentgiving Can Help

Psychogenic incontinence sheds light on the intricate connection between mental health and physical well-being. While it may be challenging to manage, a comprehensive approach that addresses both psychological and lifestyle factors can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected. 

If you suspect you or a loved one may be dealing with psychogenic incontinence, seeking medical evaluation and exploring management strategies is a proactive step toward regaining control and confidence. Parentgiving is here to help you find the right resources and premium incontinence products throughout your incontinence journey.