18 Causes Of Urinary Incontinence

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When you lose the ability to control your bladder, it can be embarrassing. Many people who suffer from this problem are scared they won’t be able to get to a toilet in time, and so avoid public places. Urinary incontinence can affect people of all ages but it is nothing to be ashamed of.

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. Although often associated with aging, urinary incontinence can plague younger people too. It can range from the occasional leaking of urine due to a cough or sneeze, to a sudden urge to go to the bathroom that’s so strong it can be painful.

There are different types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence

    This occurs when pressure is exerted on your bladder from laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercising or heaving lifting. Stress incontinence usually results in small urine leaks.

  • Urge incontinence

    This type of incontinence is marked by an intense, sudden urge to urinate that leads to an involuntary loss of urine. Urge incontinence will make you feel like you need to go to the bathroom often and will interrupt your sleep.

  • Overflow incontinence

    When you experience frequent or constant urine dribbling because your bladder won’t empty completely, this is called overflow incontinence.

  • Functional incontinence

    This occurs when a physical or mental condition stops you from making it to the bathroom in time. Conditions like arthritis might make you unable to unzip your pants fast, or you may be recovering from an injury that has left you unable to move quickly.

  • Mixed incontinence

    When you are dealing with more than one type of those mentioned above, you are experiencing what is known as mixed incontinence.

What causes urinary incontinence?

Many people assume that urinary incontinence is a disease, when in fact it is a symptom of various medical problems, everyday habits and physical issues.

The causes of urinary incontinence are:

  1. Consuming too many stimulants

    Certain foods and drinks are diuretics and can cause your bladder to work overtime and increase the amount of urine you produce. Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, chilli peppers, taking too much vitamin C or consuming a lot of citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, artificial sweeteners, and foods that have high concentrations of spice, sugar or acid are known incontinence causes.

  2. Medication

    Some medications like sedatives and muscle relaxants can also act as diuretics.

  3. Urinary tract infection

    This treatable condition can irritate your bladder, giving you strong urges to urinate and cause leakage.

  4. Constipation

    Our rectums are so close to our bladders that they share some of the same nerves. When our stool becomes hard and compacted, these nerves can overreact and lead us to urinate frequently.

  5. Pregnancy

    The weight of the fetus and hormonal changes in the body can cause stress incontinence.

  6. Giving birth

    After a vaginal delivery, the muscles we use to control our bladder may weaken and the nerves and supportive tissues can cause the pelvic floor to drop, leading to incontinence.

  7. Urinary tract obstructions

    If you have a tumour, urinary stones, or other obstructions in the tract or bladder, you may experience a leakage of urine.

  8. Neurological disorders

    Stroke, brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders can confuse the nerve signals involved with bladder control and lead to incontinence.

  9. Prostate problems

    Generally occurring in older men, incontinence can come from an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. Furthermore, the medical interventions involved in treating prostate cancer can create incontinence.

  10. Menopause

    Following menopause, women are unable to produce as much estrogen as they used to. Estrogen is a hormone that keeps the bladder lining and the urethra in good health. The less estrogen that is produced, the more likely incontinence is to occur.

  11. Hysterectomy

    The bladder and uterus share many of the same supportive ligaments and muscles. When a woman undergoes a hysterectomy that involves removing the uterus, the pelvic floor muscles may be affected leading to incontinence.

  12. Aging

    Unfortunately, as we age, our bladder does too. The bladder’s muscles deteriorate and and so does its capacity to store urine leaving us to experience involuntary bladder contractions.

  13. Gender

    Women are more likely to experience incontinence than men because of the way the reproductive system sits near the bladder.

  14. Weight

    Being overweight can lead to increased pressure on the bladder and its surrounding muscles causing them to weaken when you cough, laugh, or sneeze, leading to leakage.

  15. Smoking

    Prolonged tobacco use can increase the risk of urinary incontinence because smoking is known to overstimulate the bladder.

  16. Genetics

    If someone in your immediate family suffers from incontinence, your chances of developing it are higher.

  17. Diabetes

    Diabetics are more prone to incontinence due high blood sugar levels.

  18. Arthritis

    When your joints are inflamed or crippled due to arthritis, you may suffer from functional incontinence due to the fact that you cannot get your pants off fast enough.

If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, please contact us. At Focus Physiotherapy we offer pelvic floor retraining and other therapeutic modalities designed to treat urinary incontinence.

By |January 29th, 2018|Urinary Incontinence|Comments Off on 18 Causes Of Urinary Incontinence

About the Author:

Anthony Grande
Anthony Grande has been a Registered Physiotherapist since 1996. His desire to help people recover from their injuries pushed him to provide better care and get involved in professional and government organizations, where he gained the opportunity to be part of roundtables with Ministers and their staff. He specializes in medical acupuncture, sports injury recovery, and stroke and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Anthony devotes his personal time to his family, animal welfare, and social entrepreneurship.