Causes of UI

Urinary incontinence (UI) is not a disease and does not occur without a cause.  It can be caused by a variety of things from a Urinary Tract Infection to a weak pelvic floor to a neurological disease like Multiple Sclerosis.

A lot of the causes of urinary incontinence are easy to fix if you can identify them, but some may be more persistent.  Either way it is important to determine what is causing your UI in order to find a solution.  Here are some of the things that may cause urinary incontinence.  Keep in mind that these are just some of the more common causes and do not include all possible causes.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Women


Urinary Tract Infections – Infections like UTIs can irritate the bladder causing incontinence.  Other symptoms of a urinary tract infection include burning when urinating and a change in the smell of urine.

Constipation – The rectum is positioned near the bladder and the two organs share some nerves.  Constipation can cause these nerves to be overactive and cause incontinence.

Diet – Certain foods and drinks can act as diuretics (substances that increase the production of urine).  Examples of these are alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and spicy foods.  Unhealthy diets can also be problematic as excess weight can cause or increase incontinence.

Medications – Some medications are also diuretics.  If you are unsure about whether your medication may be causing or affecting your incontinence, talk to your doctor.  Do not stop taking any medications without consulting your doctor.

Pregnancy – The increased size and weight of the uterus puts a lot of pressure on the bladder.  That combined with the hormonal changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy can cause incontinence.

Childbirth – Bladder control muscles in your pelvic floor, can be weakened during vaginal delivery, which can lead to incontinence.  Vaginal delivery can also cause a dropped (prolapsed) pelvic floor, which is correlated with UI.

Changes with Age – As you get older your muscles, including our pelvic floor, get weaker.  Just as with pregnancy or childbirth, weaker pelvic floor muscles can cause incontinence.

Menopause – After Menopause a woman’s body produces less estrogen, a very important hormone for keeping the bladder and urethra lining healthy.  After menopause women are at increased risk of UI.

Hysterectomy – The bladder and the uterus are both supported by many of the same muscles and ligaments.  Any surgery involving a woman’s reproductive system may damage pelvic floor muscles and lead to incontinence.

Obstruction – If there are urinary stones or a tumor in the urinary tract, this can cause overflow incontinence.

Neurological Causes – There are a variety of neurological problems that can cause UI, including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, brain tumor, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal injury and others.  These can interfere with the nerve signals involved in bladder control or can cause functional incontinence.


 

Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Men


Urinary Tract Infections – Infections like UTIs can irritate the bladder causing incontinence.  Other symptoms of a urinary tract infection include burning when urinating and a change in the smell of urine.

Constipation – The rectum is positioned near the bladder and the two organs share some nerves.  Constipation can cause these nerves to be overactive and cause incontinence.

Diet – Certain foods and drinks can act as diuretics (substances that increase the production of urine).  Examples of these are alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and spicy foods.  Unhealthy diets can also be problematic as excess weight can cause or increase incontinence.

Medications – Some medications are also diuretics.  If you are unsure about whether your medication may be causing or affecting your incontinence, talk to your doctor.  Do not stop taking any medications without consulting your doctor.

Changes with Age – As you get older your muscles, including your pelvic floor, get weaker.  Just as with pregnancy or childbirth, weaker pelvic floor muscles can cause incontinence.

Enlarged Prostate – Prostatic Hyperplasia, a condition involving the enlargement of the prostate gland, is often a cause for UI.  This is more common in older men.

Prostate Cancer – Untreated prostate cancer and more commonly the treatment process for prostate cancer can both cause UI in men.

Obstruction – If there are urinary stones or a tumor in the urinary tract, this can cause overflow incontinence.

Neurological Causes – There are a variety of neurological problems that can cause UI, including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, brain tumor, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal injury and others.  These can interfere with the nerve signals involved in bladder control or can cause functional incontinence.