Causes Of Urinary Incontinence

What causes urinary incontinence?

Urinary System components: kidney, ureter, bladder, urethra There are many causes of urinary incontinence which range from the simple to the complex.

Urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control usually occurs because of problems with muscles that help to hold or release urine.

Urination or voiding is quite a complex activity. The body stores urine in the bladder, a balloon-like organ, that connects to the urethra, the tube through which urine leaves the body (see the image). Controlling urination involves nerves, muscles, spinal cord and off course the brain.

During normal urination the brain sends signals to nerves in the spinal cord that trigger the bladder to contract, forcing urine into the urethra and out of the body. Failures in this control mechanism result in urinary incontinence.

Likely causes of urinary incontinence:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Weakened pelvic muscles - the pelvic organs are held in place by supportive tissues and muscles. Problems can occur when these tissues are stretched or weakened by pregnancy, childbirth, injuries and aging.
  • Urinary tract abnormalities
  • Neuromuscular disorders - damaged nerves that control the bladder can cause urinary incontinence. Nerve damage may occur with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and other diseases.
  • Certain medications - loss of bladder control may be a side effect of medications, such as diuretics.
  • For women, thinning and drying of the skin in the vagina or urethra (especially after menopause)
  • For men, enlarged prostate gland or prostate surgery
  • Build-up of stool in the bowels (constipation)