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What Is Reflex Incontinence: Causes & Treatment Options

What Is Reflex Incontinence: Causes & Treatment Options
Kevin Cleary

Key Takeaways:

  • Spasms in the detrusor muscle of the bladder cause reflex incontinence.
  • Reflex urinary incontinence is similar to urge incontinence.
  • This type of urinary incontinence is caused by neurological issues affecting messages from the brain to the bladder.
  • Reflex incontinence typically occurs in people with neurological issues such as spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis.
  • Also known as unconscious incontinence, reflex urinary incontinence occurs when you’re unaware of the need to urinate, and HPFY has all your incontinence needs covered.


There are several different types of incontinence. One that is exceptionally concerning is reflex incontinence. It is often caused by damaged nerves sending messages between the brain and the bladder, signaling the need to urinate. The primary cause is a spasm in the detrusor muscle (the muscle that pushes urine out of your bladder). Reflex incontinence is similar to urge incontinence but with one major difference…the person suffering from reflex urinary incontinence does not feel the sudden urge to urinate. At HPFY, we have a wide range of incontinence products to help you manage reflex incontinence.

What Is Reflex Incontinence?

With several different types of incontinence, how do you know that you’re suffering from reflex incontinence? This type of incontinence is also known as automatic bladder dysfunction and occurs due to a disruption in the normal communication between your brain and your bladder. Reflex incontinence causes are:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s
  • Strokes

These conditions, as well as other neurological problems, can cause the bladder to contract or reflex at the wrong time, causing urine leakage.

Reflex Incontinence Symptoms & Treatment

Reflex urinary incontinence can damage an incontinent patient’s life by robbing them of their quality of life. It can cause social isolation, anxiety, depression, and even intimacy issues. Symptoms of reflex incontinence can include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your physician or urologist to determine the type of incontinence you are experiencing. After performing tests such as imaging and urodynamic studies, your doctor or urologist may suggest a treatment such as: 

  • Bladder training
  • Medication
  • Medical devices
  • Catheterization
  • Surgery
  • Dietary changes
  • Exercises
  • Fluid management

One particular reflex incontinence treatment you should ask your urologist about is sacral neuromodulation. Similar to a pacemaker for your heart, this implantable device can help with urinary incontinence. About 17% of women and anywhere from 3% to 17% of men can experience incontinence during their lives. This device works by sending low-level electrical impulses to your sacral nerves to help with sensation. While this treatment may not be right for you, it’s an option worth investigating.

Our Best Products for Managing Reflex Incontinence


When to Seek Medical Attention

Reflex incontinence isn’t simple to manage. It may take some trial and error to find the right incontinence products or lifestyle changes to reign in your incontinence. Even the best reflex incontinence management plan will have hiccups, and if you notice them becoming more frequent, consult your urologist before skin issues become problematic. Urine can cause skin irritation and breakdowns, leading to infection. Not good!! Be proactive and control your reflex incontinence!!



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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