Urinary Incontinence- Causes

There are many causes of urinary incontinence—including physical damage, aging, cancer, infection, and neurological disorder. Some of these conditions will only result in temporary urinary problems and are easily treated, while others are more serious and persistent.

Temporary Causes

Some cases of incontinence are temporary. Often, these instances are caused by an external, or lifestyle, factor. Drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or too much of any fluid can cause a temporary loss of bladder control. Some medications—such as blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants, sedatives, and some heart medications—may also lead to a short spell of incontinence.

Certain conditions may also cause temporary incontinence. Constipation can increase the need to urinate because the compacted stool can make the nerves controlling your bladder overact. A urinary tract infection may also lead to instances of incontinence.


As you age, your bladder muscle becomes weaker and incontinence becomes more likely. Any issues with your blood vessels will make this situation worse. The healthier you are, the better your chances of avoiding incontinence as you age.


Any damage caused to your pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, since these muscles support your bladder. In some cases, they can be damaged or weakened by surgery—usually during a procedure to remove the uterus—or during childbirth.

Enlarged Prostate

In nearly all men, the prostate gland enlarges with age. It is common for men to experience some incontinence as a result.


Prostate cancer in men, or bladder cancer in men or women, can cause incontinence. In some cases, the cancer’s treatment will cause incontinence as a side effect. A tumor, whether malignant or benign, can also cause incontinence by blocking the usual flow of urine. Kidney or bladder stones can have the same effect.

Less Common Causes

Prostatitis, or the inflammation of the prostate, and interstitial cystitis, a chronic condition of the bladder that causes pain, can occasionally cause incontinence.