Causes of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence usually occurs when the muscles and nerves – responsible for helping the bladder hold and pass urine – weakens or gets damaged. Aside from this, more factors can trigger urinary incontinence, such as:
- Certain food, beverages, and medications that increase urine production (diuretics), such as alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, spicy and acidic foods, sedatives, and high doses of vitamin C
- Diseases like diabetes, certain types of cancer, and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
- Physical changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and aging
- Hysterectomy and other surgeries and treatments for pelvic cancers
- Tumors or obstructions that puts pressure on the bladder
- Urinary tract infection and constipation
6 Types of Urinary Incontinence
Before we proceed on how to reduce urinary incontinence, let us first discuss its types. Urinary incontinence is categorized into six different types depending on its symptoms and severity.
1. Stress incontinence
When hearing the word “stress,” your first thought would be about emotions and feelings. However, when talking about stress incontinence, “stress” refers to the pressure applied to the bladder, which causes urinary leakage.
This condition is more common in women and leakage may be experienced with coughing, sneezing or laughing. Sudden movements like bending, squatting, and lifting can also cause urinary leakage.
Experts believe that women who gave birth vaginally are more prone to stress incontinence. Vaginal birth stretches and weakens the pelvic floor muscles and nerves, which results in poorer bladder support.
Stress incontinence also occurs due to aging—especially in menopausal women, men who have undergone surgery, as well as to people with severe lung conditions.
2. Overactive bladder or urgency urinary incontinence
The urgency and frequency to urinate even when the bladder is not full yet is referred to as overactive bladder or urge incontinence. Urinary urgency occurs due to the involuntary contraction of the bladder muscle (detrusor).
A person who suffers from an overactive bladder tends to void multiple times in a day and can also feel the same urge even when sleeping at night, causing disruptive sleep. Most people who have an overactive bladder have difficulty controlling their urine from passing, which results in frequently wetting themselves.
Both men and women can develop an overactive bladder, but it is most common in people who have diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Men who undergo prostate cancer surgeries and treatments might also have this condition. Also, the physical changes a postmenopausal woman experiences can trigger an overactive bladder.
3. Overflow incontinence
You have overflow incontinence if you cannot empty your bladder completely, which results in leakage. Overflow incontinence happens when something blocks your urine from normally passing. The blockage is usually caused by tumors, bladder stones, and scar tissues.
This urinary problem is more common in men than women, especially to men who have prostate problems. People with diabetes and neurological disorders, as well as those taking certain medications that prevent the bladder muscles from contracting, are also at risk to overflow incontinence.