The causes of urinary incontinence depend on the types of incontinence:
- Described as feeling the intense urge to urinate and before you can get to toilet, the urine leaks.
- Due to bladder being in a hyperactive (hyper contractility) state.
- Common causes: Urinary tract infection, urinary stones/tumours, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and aging alone.
- Urine leaks with coughing/sneezing/laughing.
- Due to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles.
- Common causes: Pregnancy, obesity, chronic cough condition, pelvic surgery and prostate surgery.
- Due to retention of urine causing the bladder to overflow and urine leaks as a result.
- Can be due to bladder being in a hypoactive (hypo contractility) state or obstruction at the bladder outlet causing urinary retention.
- Common causes of hypoactive bladder are diabetes mellitus, low spinal cord injury, nerve problem and certain medications like antihistamines.
- Causes of bladder outlet obstruction are prostate enlargement and vaginal prolapse.
- It is called functional incontinence because there is no problem with the urinary tract system.
- It is due to problem in cognition (ie: dementia/depression) causing a loss of awareness of bladder fullness, unable to delay micturition until appropriate timing, unable to communicate toileting needs or lack of motivation to maintain continence
- It can also be due to physical factor, eg: someone who is less mobile will have difficulty getting to toilet on time and as a result urine leaks
When you experience sudden urinary incontinence, do seek medical attention as there are some transient causes of incontinence that are reversible with treatment.