Incontinence is used in Medicine and Philosophy.


Incontinence is the lack of voluntary control of excretory functions; the term is a contraction of a complete expression, such as "incontinence of urine" or "incontinence of feces". Incontinence mostly occurs in adults but can also occur in teens. Incontinence is usually referred to in urine when leakage occurs that cannot be helped or stopped. There are two different types of urinary incontinence: stress and urge.

Incontinence of stress is when leakage occurs during laughter, sneezing, coughing, etc. Usually, those with stress incontinence do not recognize it as a medical condition. In most cases, stress incontinence is not dangerous and can often be treated through retraining of urethral muscles.

Incontinence of urge, however, is when you feel the sudden need to urinate and cannot help but have an accident. This is caused by losing the first message sensation telling you that you need to urinate.


Incontinence ("a want of continence or self-restraint") is often used by philosophers to translate the Greek term Akrasia (Ακράσια). Often used to refer to a lacking in moderation or self-control, especially related to sexual desire. This concept is also called wantonness.

"Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." (Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo.) - Saint Augustine

Aristotle in Book VII of Nicomachean Ethics described incontinence as knowing virtue, but not having habituated it to control passion. For example: Though I know courage is a virtue and understand the benefit to my situation, I am a coward because I have not habituated courage and can't control of my fear. [Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics, Book VII] Plato/Socrates reasons that there is no such thing as incontinence because the only reason a person would choose a path that is detrimental to oneself is for lack of knowledge/experience. [I don't remember the reference]

See also


Search another word or see incontinenceon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature