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What Causes Urinary Incontinence In Women?

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What Causes Urinary Incontinence In Women?

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. The two most common types of urinary incontinence that affect women are stress incontinence and urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder. Incontinence affects twice as many women as men. This may be because pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause may make urinary incontinence more likely. Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging, and it can be treated.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is usually caused by problems with the muscles and nerves that help the bladder hold or pass urine. Certain health events unique to women, such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, can cause problems with these muscles and nerves.

Other causes of urinary incontinence include:

  • Overweight. Being overweight puts pressure on the bladder, which can weaken the muscles over time. A weak bladder cannot hold as much urine.

  • Constipation. Problems with bladder control can happen to people with long-term (chronic) constipation. Constipation, or straining to have a bowel movement, can put stress or pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles. This weakens the muscles and can cause urinary incontinence or leaking.

  • Nerve damage. Damaged nerves may send signals to the bladder at the wrong time or not at all. Childbirth and health problems such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis can cause nerve damage in the bladder, urethra, or pelvic floor muscles.

  • Surgery. Any surgery that involves a woman’s reproductive organs, such as a hysterectomy, can damage the supporting pelvic floor muscles, especially if the uterus is removed. If the pelvic floor muscles are damaged, a woman’s bladder muscles may not work like they should. This can cause urinary incontinence.

Sometimes urinary incontinence lasts only for a short time and happens because of other reasons, including:

  • Certain medicines. Urinary incontinence may be a side effect of medicines such as diuretics (“water pills” used to treat heart failure, liver cirrhosis, hypertension, and certain kidney diseases). The incontinence often goes away when you stop taking the medicine.

  • Caffeine. Drinks with caffeine can cause the bladder to fill quickly, which can cause you to leak urine. Studies suggest that women who drink more than two cups of drinks with caffeine per day may be more likely to have problems with incontinence. Limiting caffeine may help with incontinence because there is less strain on your bladder.

  • Infection. Infections of the urinary tract and bladder may cause incontinence for a short time. Bladder control often returns when the infection goes away.

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With almost 80 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in nearly 20 specialties, CCH is committed to your wellbeing right here at home. If you have been putting off a visit to your doctor for a regular checkup or for an issue like incontinence, contact them; they can help weigh your personal healthcare risk and avoid further delayed diagnoses.


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  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Urology