What Causes Adult Incontinence?

adult incontinenceMillions of people experience adult incontinence and it’s not as rare as some may think, because 25 million Americans manage it every day. With that said, it should be understood that urinary incontinence is not a disease but rather a symptom of some underlying medical condition or physical problem. To find the root of the issue, it’s recommended to visit your doctor for a thorough evaluation to see what’s causing the incontinence symptoms. There are five different types of adult incontinence; let’s review what they are and what causes them.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is leakage that occurs during strenuous acts when the muscles that regulate the release of urine weaken. You may leak urine when you:

  • Sneeze
  • Cough
  • Laugh
  • Lift something heavy
  • Change position

The underlying causes of stress incontinence may be due to childbirth for women or prostate surgery for men, but, as noted above, your doctor may be able to pinpoint the exact reasons for this type of incontinence.

Urge Incontinence

Just like the term implies, urge incontinence is having a sudden, strong urge to urinate without the ability to hold the urine, causing leakage. Urge incontinence may be attributed to:

  • Bladder infections
  • Age-related conditions
  • Parkinson’s disease, stroke
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Some cancers

Additionally, some foods and beverages may exacerbate the urge to urinate, including caffeinated beverages, chocolate, acidic foods and even some juices.

Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence typically is defined as having difficulties completely emptying the bladder, which leads to urine leaking unexpectedly. Additionally, you may have the urge to urinate but you can only release small amounts in the restroom. The causes of urge incontinence may include:

  • Blockage of the urethra
  • Weak bladder muscles
  • Certain medications, such as anti-depressants & anti-convulsants
  • Nerve damage

Total Incontinence

Total incontinence may be one of the hardest types of urinary incontinence to manage. With total incontinence, the sphincter muscle no longer functions properly, which results in a constant, involuntary leak of urine. Some of the common causes of this form include:

  • Overactive bladder muscles
  • Weakened pelvic floor muscles
  • Chronic bladder inflammation
  • Side effects from a previous surgery

Functional Incontinence

Functional incontinence occurs when you cannot make it to the restroom in time. This can happen to individuals who are transferring from a wheelchair to the toilet or to individuals with musculoskeletal problems like arthritis or back pain, all of which can make it challenging to make it to the restroom quickly enough.

While the condition can be frustrating to deal with, adult incontinence is manageable with the right tools and resources. For instance, your doctor can recommend certain treatments, you can practice at home remedies and you can discreetly wear incontinence products for leakage protection.

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