Advice & Support
Advice on Living with Incontinence

Incontinence Glossary

Understanding the terms used around continence will keep you on the same page as your health care professional.
Published by Jane Granger
Incontinence Glossary

The term that relates to the specialist treatment of obesity. The TENA Stretch Bariatric range has been designed to meet the needs of this group.

Bladder leakage
Also known as bladder weakness or urinary incontinence. Difficulty in controlling the bladder that can result in an involuntary loss of urine.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
A measure of body mass calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared.

When bowel motions become hard and difficult to pass, requiring straining (excessive pushing).

Inflammation of the bladder.

Enuresis (bedwetting)
Enuresis is the involuntary loss of urine. When it occurs during sleep at night it is referred to as nocturnal enuresis.

Also known as bowel motions, stools or poo.

Faecal Incontinence
The involuntary loss of faeces.

Functional incontinence
This is an inability to reach the bathroom and remove clothing in time because of the difficulties caused by physical or mental illness.

A doctor who is an expert in all aspects of the digestive system and may be recommended if you have faecal incontinence.

A doctor who specialises in the needs of older people.

Designed specifically for men, TENA Guards are cup-shaped to fit the male anatomy for a snug and secure fit. An adhesive strip secures these incontinence pads for men in place and should be worn with brief style men's underwear. Best for light to moderate male incontinence.

A doctor specialising in women’s reproductive health.

The involuntary loss of urine and/or faeces.

The smallest and lightest protection available. TENA liners are designed for very light bladder leakage needs.

Marks the permanent cessation of menstrual activity. The lead up to this and when most symptoms are experienced (hot flushes, erratic bleeding, poor sleep, etc.) is called perimenopause.

The act of urinating (voiding or passing urine).

Mixed incontinence
Quite literally, mixed symptoms. Usually a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

Neurological bladder disorders
Damage to the nerves as a result of illness or injury can affect the way the brain and bladder communicate. This can result in an inability to control the bladder or empty it completely.

Overflow incontinence
This can be a constant dribbling of urine or an erratic flow, both usually caused by an obstruction or nerve damage.

Designed for very light to heavy bladder leakage. TENA pads contain SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer) which can absorb 300 times its weight in liquid.

Designed to pull on and off like regular underwear, TENA Pants for Women and TENA Pants for Men are all made of soft, stretchy, breathable fabric. They’re great for travel and social events as they are extremely discreet. They’re also useful for people with progressive neurological disorders as they offer the familiarity of normal underwear.

Pelvic floor exercises
Exercises to strengthen the muscle through contracting and relaxing, with the aim of improving the ability to ‘hold on’ when the urethra is closed (‘tightening the seal’).

Pelvic floor muscles
The pelvic floor muscles form a broad sling between your legs from the pubic bone in front to the base of your spine at the back. It supports the bowel and bladder and in women, the reproductive organs.

Post-micturition dribble
This is when the bladder doesn’t empty completely and continues to leak after urinating. This is common with an enlarged prostate or a weakened pelvic floor muscle.

The term used when an organ shifts out its normal position. In the pelvis, this could be the uterus, vagina, bladder, urethra, rectum or bowel.

A gland in men that is located at the base of the bladder and surrounds the urethra. It produces a fluid at ejaculation. Sometimes in older men, the gland grows larger and obstructs the urine tube. A symptom of this is a poor stream of urine.

Health care professionals who focus on exercise and movement and can specialise in pelvic floor strengthening.

The name for a valve of muscle that keeps a passage closed until it is consciously relaxed. Regarding continence, the relevant sphincters are those of the bladder and anus.

Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP)
A key component of incontinent products, this non-toxic product resembles fine white sand when dry, but can absorb up to 300 times its weight in liquid. When it absorbs fluid, it forms a gel that holds wetness in, even under pressure (like being sat on). It’s also used in baby nappies.

Stress incontinence
Involuntary urine loss that occurs with a sudden physical exertion such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise or heavy lifting. It usually only involves small amounts and is generally caused by a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, which is unable to ‘hold on’ under exertion or stress.

Underactive bladder
If you have an underactive bladder, it holds much more urine than normal. Because you cannot feel when the bladder is full, you leak small amounts of urine as bladder pressure builds.

The tube that transports urine from the bladder to outside body. In women, the exit point is just in front of the vagina. In men, it runs through the penis.

Urge incontinence
Also known as an overactive bladder, this is the most common type for men. You experience a sudden urge to urinate and the bladder involuntarily expels urine. This is usually due to interference in the nerve signals between bladder and brain, often linked to either an enlarged prostate or the aftermath of prostate surgery.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A bacterial infection anywhere in the urinary tract – typically the urethra. Left untreated, UTI can travel up into the bladder, causing a bladder infection, and then further still to cause a kidney infection.

Also known as wee or pee, urine is waste fluid produced by the kidneys and stored in the bladder until it is released through the urethra. Urine should be pale, not cloudy and have no odour.

A gynaecologist who focuses on women’s continence issues.

A doctor who specialises in the study or treatment of the function and disorders of the urinary system.


Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.