Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a symptom of some behavior, underlying condition or physical problem. Female incontinence is a common problem; women suffer from incontinence at higher rates than men, with up to 20% of all women reporting at least mild incontinence. No matter the cause, urinary incontinence can be treated. Schedule an appointment with us to help you determine the root cause.

Types of Incontinence

There are a few types of incontinence, each characterized by how it is experienced:

• Stress Incontinence
• Urine leaks when pressure is exerted on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, exercising, etc.
• Urge Incontinence
• Sudden and intense urges to urinate followed by involuntary loss of urine. Urge incontinence is also commonly referred to as overactive bladder syndrome (OAB)
• Overflow Incontinence
• You experience frequent dribbling of urine due to your bladder not emptying completely.
• Mixed Incontinence
• You are experiencing more than one type of incontinence.

Temporary Incontinence

Certain drinks, foods and medications can act as diuretics — stimulating the bladder and increasing the volume of urine. They include:

• Alcohol
• Caffeine
• Decaffeinated Tea and Coffee
• Carbonated Drinks
• Artificial Sweeteners
• Corn Syrup
• Foods that are high in spice, sugar or acid, especially citrus fruits.
• Heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives, and muscle relaxants.
• Large doses of vitamins B or C.


Changes With Age

Aging of the bladder muscle can decrease the bladder's capacity to store urine.


Vaginal delivery can weaken muscles needed for bladder control and also damage bladder nerves and supportive tissue, leading to a dropped (prolapsed) pelvic floor. With prolapse, the bladder, uterus, rectum or small intestine can get pushed down from the usual position and protrude into the vagina. Such protrusions can be associated with incontinence.


The rectum is located near the bladder and shares many of the same nerves. Hard, compacted stool in your rectum causes these nerves to be overactive and increase urinary frequency.


After menopause women produce less estrogen, a hormone that helps keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. Deterioration of these tissues can aggravate incontinence.


Hormonal changes and the increased weight of the uterus can lead to stress incontinence.


In women, the bladder and uterus are supported by many of the same muscles and ligaments. Any surgery that involves a woman's reproductive system, including removal of the uterus, may damage the supporting pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to incontinence.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Infections can irritate your bladder, causing you to have strong urges to urinate, and sometimes incontinence. Other signs and symptoms of urinary tract infection include a burning sensation when you urinate and foul-smelling urine.


A tumor anywhere along your urinary tract can block the normal flow of urine, leading to overflow incontinence. Urinary stones — hard, stone-like masses that form in the bladder — sometimes cause urine leakage.

Neurological Disorders

Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, stroke, a brain tumor or a spinal injury can interfere with nerve signals involved in bladder control, causing urinary incontinence.

Don't let your incontinence or overactive bladder slow you down -- We offer excellent treatment for various urological conditions at the Urology Centers of Alabama.

Book your appointment today!