Below is a glossary of common terms relating to Cochrane Incontinence. For a general glossary of terms relating to Cochrane, click here.

This glossary is designed to provide a valuable resource of terminology that is more understanable to lay readers and to help harmonise terminology across reviews. 

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Abscess - a collection of pus that has built up within tissues of the body.

Alpha blocker - medication used to relax muscles or blood vessels..

Antimicrobials - a subtance that kills or stops the growth of tiny, potentially harmful organisms that can only be seen under a microscope.

Bacteruria - the presence of bacteria in the urine.

Cystitis - inflammation of the bladder wall, usually caused by a bladder infection.

Detrusor - the smooth, outer, muscular structure of the bladder wall.

Detrusor hyperreflexia  - Involuntary bladder muscle (detrusor) contractions which are due to neurologic conditions.

Detrusor instability - Involuntary bladder muscle (detrusor) contractions which are due to reasons other than neurologic disorders. The diagnosis must be made using urodynamics.

Detrusor overactivity - A generic term for involuntary bladder muscle (detrusor) contractions. This term is used when a cause is unclear.

Dysuria - difficult or painful urination.

Encopresis - Repeated passage of faeces into inappropiate places (e.g. clothing or floor) whether involuntary or intentional.

Enuresis - A 'normal' void taking place at an inappropriate or socially unacceptable time or place.

Extraurethral incontinence - Denotes leakage of urine from a source other than the urethra. It may be due to urinary fistula or ectopic ureter.

Faecal incontinence - The involuntary passing of faeces.

Flank - the fleshy part of the body that sits between the ribs and the hip bone.

Haematuria - the presence of blood in the urine.

Haemorrhage - excessive bleeding, usually from a ruptured blood vessel.

Incontinence - involuntary leakage of urine.

In situ - in place.

Intrinsic sphincter deficiency - a malfunction of the urethral sphincter itself.

Loin - the part of the body on either side of the spine between the ribs and hip bone.

Low bladder compliance - an abnormal (decreased) volume/pressure relationship during bladder filling.

Lumen - the inside space of a tubular structure, such as the walls of a urethral catheter or arteries.

Meatal - relating to a body passage (for example, the urethra or passage to the bladder).

Mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) - occurs when someone has both stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence.

Morbidity - the rate of sickness.

Neurogenic urinary dysfunction - lack of bladder control due to a problem with the brain, spinal cord or nerves.

Nocturnal enuresis/nocturia - passing urine involuntarily while asleep.

Overflow incontinence - leakage of urine at greater than normal bladder capacity. It is associated with incomplete bladder emptying due to either impaired detrusor contractility or bladder outlet obstruction.

Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) - any method of training the pelvic floor muscles to contract.

Perioperative - orrurring around the time of surgery.

Post‐void dribble - dribbling loss of urine, which occurs after urinating.

Prostatitis - imflammation of the prostate. 

Radical prostatectomy - complete surgical removal of the prostate. 

Rectal prolapse (procidencia) - the protrusion through the anus of all layers of the rectal wall.

Rigors - shivering from the chills.

Sphincter abnormalities causing urinary incontinence - there are two generic types of sphincter abnormalities: urethral hypermobility (instability of the urethra) and intrinsic sphincter deficiency (a malfunction of the urethral sphincter itself). The two conditions may coexist. At the present time, there are no well‐defined objective methods to distinguish between the two.

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) - involuntary loss of urine during coughing, sneezing, or physical exertion such as sport activities, sudden changes of position, etc.

Stricture - the narrowing of a bodily structure.

Suprapubic - above the pelvic area.

Terminal dribble - a dribble of urine that may occur during the last stages of urination.

Ureteroneocystostomy - the reimplantation of the ureter into the bladder.

Urethral hypermobility - abnormal descent of the bladder neck and proximal urethra during increases in abdominal pressure.

Urge urinary incontinence (UUI) - involuntary loss of urine associated with a sudden strong desire to urinate (urgency).

Urinoma - an abnormal sac or urine within a body cavity.

Urodynamic studies - scientific assessment of the function and dysfunction of the lower urinary tract.

Urological - relating to the organs responsible for making and passing urine.

With grateful thanks to Marilyn Walsh, a member of our consumer panel, for her input into this Glossary.