Urinary Incontinence | Causes & Risk Factors

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Is urinary incontinence just part of growing older?

No. But changes with age can reduce how much urine your bladder can hold. Aging can make your stream of urine weaker and can cause you to feel the urge to urinate more often. This doesn't mean you'll have urinary incontinence just because you're aging. With treatment, it can be controlled or cured.

What causes incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can be caused by many different medical problems, including weak pelvic muscles or diabetes. See the box below for a list of common causes.

Causes of urinary incontinence

  • For women, thinning and drying of the skin in the vagina or urethra, especially after menopause
  • For men, enlarged prostate gland or prostate surgery
  • Weakened and stretched pelvic muscles after childbirth
  • Certain medicines
  • Build-up of stool in the bowels
  • Overweight and obesity, which increase pressure on the bladder and muscles that control the bladder
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vascular disease
  • Diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 01/00

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