Causes Of Incontinence
The causes of incontinence are quite varied, and depend on things like the type of incontinence, gender, age, and even lifestyle. The easiest way to look at all of the different causes is to break them down into two simple categories. Those categories are temporary or treatable causes of incontinence, and permanent causes of incontinence. Temporary causes of incontinence are things like infection or certain medications. Permanent causes are usually either nerve related or prostate related.
Infection. Infection is the single most common cause of temporary incontinence. The culprit is usually a bacterial infection of some sort in the bladder, ureter, or even the kidneys. The bacteria irritate the bladder or ureter walls, which leads to spasms in those areas. The spasms can cause leaking. Infection induced incontinence goes away as soon as the bacterial infection is treated.
Medication. Medication can have all kinds of unwanted side effects and incontinence is one of those side effects. How medication affects the urological system is not always clear, but studies done on people taking certain medications have indeed confirmed medication as a definite cause of incontinence. Stopping the medication quickly eliminates the incontinence.
Other. There are a variety of temporary causes that are less common. These include psychological issues, fecal compaction, and an increased urine output level. Mentally unwell individuals may lack understanding in terms of holding urine in the bladder. Fecal compaction can put pressure on parts of the urinary system, similar to prostate enlargement. A dramatic increase in urine output, such as that seen in diabetes insipidus, can cause incontinence due to the quick build up of urine in the bladder before the person can get to the bathroom.
Prostate Enlargement. Prostate enlargement is a naturally occurring condition in older men and the most common permanent cause of incontinence. It is, in fact, estimated that over 90 percent of men have prostate enlargement causing urinary symptoms by the time they reach their mid 70s. When the prostate gets too big, it can put pressure on the urethra, leading to urinary incontinence in some cases. Other prostate related causes include prostate cancer and prostate surgery.
Nerve Damage. Nerves are responsible for telling the bladder when to open and when to contract. Any illness that causes nerve damage can interrupt this process, leading to incontinence. The most common nerve diseases that are associated with incontinence are diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.
Other. Other permanent causes include overactive bladder, and spinal cord injuries. Overactive bladder is a condition where the bladder contracts at random times for no apparent reason. It can cause incontinence and urgency. Spinal cord injuries interrupt the nerve signals that control bladder control.