What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a common health problem characterized by involuntary release of urine. It affects many patients with most of them being women, since a number of urinary incontinence causes occur naturally in women. Although it is quite common, many patients avoid talking about it as they fear embarrassment. Discussed here are four causes of urinary incontinence.

1. Overactive Bladder
A patient with an overactive bladder feels the urge to empty even when the bladder is not full, a condition that can be caused by several factors. Neurological problems may occur whereby the nerve signals tell the bladder to empty even before it is full.

The bladder muscles can also be too active resulting into urinary incontinence. In such a case, the bladder muscles contract more rapidly than usual passing urine more frequently even before the bladder is filled with urine. This results into urge incontinence, a sudden and strong need to urinate. Certain diseases that affect spinal cord or the brain such as multiple sclerosis and stroke can cause the overactive bladder.

2. Stress
Physical stress on the pelvic muscles can lead to urinary incontinence as the bladder is unable to hold the urine as usual. This leads to stress incontinence, a very common type of urinary incontinence. Menopause contributes to the development of this problem but the main factor setting the stage for its development is stretching and tearing of pelvic muscles that happen during childbirth.

This stretching results in a reduced muscle tone causing the urethra to sag. When any form of pressure builds up in the abdomen, internal organs put their pressure on the bladder which may cause a small amount of urine to escape. Some of the common actions that may lead to this pressure build up include laughing, jumping, lifting and coughing. This can occur at any time making it a nuisance and sometimes embarrassing.

3. Urine Overflow
This occurs when the amount of urine collecting in the bladder is more than the bladder can hold. In such a case, the excess urine leaks out leading to overflow incontinence. This can be caused by several factors such as a blocked urinary tract and neurological damage caused by diseases including diabetes, injury or stroke.

4. Medications
Some medications can lead to incontinence because of their mechanism of action. Certain blood pressure lowering drugs, sedatives, muscle relaxants and heart medications can initiate or make incontinence worse. For instance, diuretics work by removing excess fluid from the blood vessels and the heart for efficient functioning of the body. The removed fluid is directed to the urinary tract, which leads to a higher fluid load in the bladder.

Urinary incontinence is a common health problem affecting many people affecting more women than men. The major causes of urinary incontinence are an overactive bladder, physical stress on the pelvic muscles, medications and urine overflow.

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