What Are the Main Causes of Urinary Incontinence?

boston urogyn, urinary incontinence, Dr. Kohli

The fact that urinary incontinence is common doesn’t spare you the embarrassment when it happens to you. Whether it’s occasional leakage or the strong, sudden urge to go, incontinence can interfere with your everyday life. Although urinary incontinence disproportionately affects older people, it isn’t an inevitable health condition. Many of the causes of incontinence can be treated, as can the condition itself.

Types of incontinence

It’s possible to experience any of these types of incontinence alone or in combination.

Functional incontinence is caused by an unrelated condition that interferes with your ability to get to the bathroom in time, such as arthritis or other mobility difficulty.

Overflow incontinence stems from incomplete emptying of the bladder, resulting in frequent dribbles of urine escaping.

Stress incontinence happens when something exerts enough pressure to cause a leak, such as sneezing, coughing, exercising, or laughing.

Urge incontinence presents you with an intense and sudden urge to urinate, which is usually followed by an involuntary release of urine. You may also have a need to urinate frequently, including frequent wake-ups at night.

Causes of temporary urinary incontinence

Chemical substances called diuretics can be found in food, drink, and medications. Diuretics both stimulate your bladder and increase the amount of urine produced by your body. These can temporarily create conditions that lead to urinary incontinence in some people, particularly those who have another contributing risk factor.

Some of the most common diuretics are:

Urinary tract infections and constipation can also create conditions contributing to temporary urinary incontinence. These conditions are typically easy to treat, so their effects on urinary incontinence may be temporary, too.

Persistent urinary incontinence

Many women who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth are familiar with the effects of these on urinary incontinence. Though, for most, the effects are temporary, others may experience longer lasting effects

Age-related changes: Your bladder muscle can weaken with time, and involuntary bladder contractions may also develop.

Childbirth: The demands on your body from a vaginal delivery can affect the muscles that control your bladder, as well as affecting nerves and supportive tissue causing a prolapsed pelvic floor.

Hysterectomy: Your bladder is supported by the same tissue that supports the uterus, so any type of hysterectomy may include urinary incontinence as an after-effect.

Neurological conditions: Stroke, brain tumors, spinal injuries, and diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease may include incontinence as a side effect.

Pregnancy: The hormonal effects of pregnancy combine with the weight of the fetus to create urinary incontinence in some women.

Prostate problems: In men, enlarged or cancerous prostate can each cause urinary incontinence, and prostate cancer treatments tend to cause incontinence as a side effect.

Obstructions: Urinary stones and tumors can interrupt the normal flow of urine, causing urine leakage or overflow incontinence.

Many of the causes of persistent urinary incontinence can be treated, and Dr. Kohli and the team at Boston Urogyn can help you get to the root of the problem, while developing management strategies. Contact the office by phone or through the online Request Appointment tool. Don’t let urinary incontinence take over your life. Contact Boston Urogyn today.

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