What Is Overflow Incontinence?

Most people associate incontinence with the inability to hold urine or experiencing leakage during activities like laughing, exercising, or coughing. However, overflow incontinence occurs when you believe you’ve finished urinating, but a small amount of urine continues to trickle out. This condition is a form of incontinence and is treatable in most cases.

What Causes Overflow Incontinence?

To understand overflow incontinence, it’s essential to recognize the various underlying causes:

  • Anatomical Variations

A loop or twist in the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the outside) can trap urine, leading to overflow incontinence.

  • Obstructions

Masses, bladder stones, or other body parts pressing on the urethra can compromise urine flow, causing overflow incontinence.

  • Scar Tissue

Infections, endometriosis, or surgeries can create scar tissue that impacts the urethra, leading to incontinence.

  • Weak Bladder Muscles

Conditions like diabetes, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and back issues can weaken bladder muscles, preventing complete emptying.

  • Medications

Certain antidepressants and anticonvulsants can affect nerve function, contributing to overflow incontinence.

What Are The Non-Invasive Treatments For Overflow Incontinence?

Treatment for overflow incontinence varies based on the cause. Here, we’ll focus on non-invasive methods, particularly those addressing weak pelvic floor muscles and poor posture:

  • Functional Assessment And Postural Stability

Overflow incontinence is one presentation of pelvic instability. It’s important to consider how to address pelvic stability by examining the brain’s map of movement, which serves as the blueprint for movement, and evaluating movement functionality. By tracing the issue from the brain to the movement, we can identify where the problem exists. This approach means we don’t just focus on the bladder or urethra as the sole contributors to the issue, but also consider whether the overall pelvic structure is stable enough to retain its contents. Problems in the hips, lower back, sacroiliac joints, and lower mid-back can all contribute to incontinence.


  • Core Stability And Functional Movement

Baby doing both push up

The core is not the abs, but the trunk itself extends from the neck to the pelvis. Dysfunctional movement patterns are created when we don’t use the trunk for trunk movements and related tasks. When it comes to core and pelvic function, many times the socket part of the hip being supported by the oblique muscles collapses over the ‘ball’ of the hip joint (a ball and socket joint) which only translates into a pelvis that is not moving freely and a presentation of pelvic floor dysfunction with compromised hip mobility.

This is one of a few presentations that are commonly seen with pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic instability. Using the methods of Developmental Kinesiology such as DNS or Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, we are able to address the dysfunctions. After all, we have all used the same methods to go from the helpless infant stage to the running toddler stage innately.

  • Biological Breathing

Proper breathing supports the pelvic diaphragm and overall posture while the modern lifestyle encourages forward flexion which is collapsing over the abdominal and pelvic diaphragm. This compromises the breathing apparatus which has many functions one of which supports the upright position and core stability. Watch this video to see how it is done:

  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

If pelvic floor dysfunction were the name of a book, it would have many chapters which, unfortunately, most people think consist of incontinence, Erectile Dysfunction, painful intercourse, and pain in the pelvis. What they fail to realize is that pelvic floor dysfunction has to do with pelvic instability; conditions such as Chronic lower back pain, chronic sacroiliac joint pain, pelvic pain, hip pain, hip decrease in range of motion, and poor posture are all other faces of the same problem. Read my blog on the subtle and not so subtle faces of pelvic floor dysfunction.

  • Advanced Treatment Options

There are several tools and gadgets used for incontinence, all with the intention of removing the symptoms. What we need to understand is that unless the cause is addressed, the problem will never go away.
In my practice, I utilize the Incontinence chair or Emsella Chair which is FDA-approved for incontinence with 400 kegels per minute capability. I have my own protocol of using it only AFTER the person knows and is able to breathe Biologically, is capable and aware of maintaining a functional posture while sitting on this chair, and is being monitored closely for the whole duration of the 28 min. session.

I have found that under those circumstances, my patients are able to reinforce both the inside and outside of their pelvic muscles for a stronger and more stable pelvis. That is the requirement for all pelvic-related tasks and performances. We cannot expect to have a strong floor when the ‘house’ that the pelvic floor is the ‘floor’ of is unstable.

If you have pelvic floor dysfunction, and are not getting the desired results from your current treatment, contact me.

Dr. Shakib

Recommended Reading:

Constipation And Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The Top Pelvic Floor Exercises For A Healthy Core And Beyond