This information is not comprehensive, is only current at the date initially published and does not constitute medical advice. Do not rely on any content for clinical decision making and instead seek appropriate professional advice. Continence Matters is not responsible for any loss anyone suffers in connections with the use of this information.



Our Glossary provides an explanation of some common terms.

Behavioural and Dietary Modification - This is a very important part of managing incontinence and it incorporates many aspects including pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, timed voiding, avoiding bladder irritants in the diet and good bowel habits.

Biofeedback - Some people have difficulty performing pelvic exercises and knowing when they are doing them correctly. There are a number of devices available to assist by providing feedback. These are usually inserted into the vagina and tell you when you are squeezing the pelvic floor muscles, how hard you are squeezing them and for how long. They are available for purchase and also a number of continence physiotherapists and nurses have machines available for use during sessions with patients.

Bladder - the organ that stores urine so it can be emptied at a convenient time and place.

Bladder Training - This is often used for people with urinary frequency and urgency where they learn to try to hold on for increasing time intervals to improve their bladder control and bladder capacity. Continence physiotherapists and nurses can assist with this.

Continence Aids - There are a number of different pads, pants, bed sheets, catheters etc are available to help people manage their incontinence. (Catheter Supplies)

CT scan - Computerised Tomography is a special type of X-ray used to provide detailed images of the body.


Female Urology - This is a growing subspecialty of urology that deals with the bladder and pelvic floor problems in women described in this website.

Haematuria (Blood in the urine)

IVP - A series of X-ray’s taken after and injection of contrast dye to show anatomy and function of the kidneys and urinary tract.

Kidneys - two organs that filter out waste products from the blood and make urine.

Mixed incontinence

MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses magnets and radiofrequencies to produce detailed images of structures within the body. It does not use X-rays.

Mid Stream Speciment Urine - MSSU


Overactive bladder

Pelvic floor exercises

Retrograde Pyelogram - X-rays using dye of the drainage system of the kidneys and the ureters performed in the operating theatre under and anaesthetic.

Stress incontinence

Symptom Questionnaires - There are a number of questionnaires designed for patients to complete to provide health professionals information about patients symptoms, their severity and impact on their quality of life. They are often used in clinical trials and clinical practice before and after a treatment to assess how successful a particular treatment has been.

Timed Voiding - This may be used in conjunction with a bladder training programme. For some patients regular toileting can reduce the number of accidents.

Ultrasound - The use of sound waves to image parts of the body such as kidneys, bladder, uterus and ovaries. When having a renal or pelvic ultrasound you should arrive with a full bladder. You will usually be asked to go an empty your bladder during the study and on your return repeat scan will see if you emptied completely. This test is non-invasive, not painful and does not use X-rays.

Ureters - the two tubes that carry urine form the right and left kidney to the bladder.

Urethra - The tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside. This is shorter in the female and lies in front of the vagina. It is longer in the male and travels through the prostate gland and then the penis.

Urge incontinence

Urinary retention

Urine cytology

Urologist or Urological Surgeon - A specialist in the medical and surgical diseases of the male and female urinary systems and the male reproductive system.

Vaginal weights or cones - These are another device used to assist pelvic floor muscle strengthening by trying to hold increasing weights for increasing amounts of time in the vagina.

Vaginismus - This refers to an involuntary tightening of the vagina usually experienced when attempting to have intercourse or insert a tampon. There may be associated pain or burning.

Print Friendly and PDF