Major Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Women

  • Home
  • Health
  • Major Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Women

Urinary incontinence is a common condition that causes embarrassment to many people. Women are more prone to develop this problem than men. According to studies, approximately 37% of women above 20 years old have had incontinence to some degree. With age, the risk of developing incontinence and severity increases. Dr. Richard Strathmann treats incontinence in women and other such related conditions. Book an appointment online today.

What are the types of incontinence?

  •   Urge incontinence: This is most common in older women. It is characterized by an urgency to urinate, which can begin flowing on its own.
  •   Stress incontinence: More common in women who have recently given birth. Urine flows out when coughing, laughing, or sneezing.
  •   Overflow incontinence: Occurs when patients cannot completely empty their bladder, making urine drip on its own.
  •   Functional incontinence: Occurs in people with preexisting medical conditions that prevent them from getting to the bathroom on time. It is very common in older adults.
  •   Mixed incontinence: It is a combination of two or more symptoms of incontinence.

Below are the known causes of incontinence:


Being overweight exerts excess pressure on the bladder and, in turn, weakens its muscles. When this happens for a long time, the bladder cannot efficiently hold urine, and leaks. 


Weight gained during pregnancy increases the pressure exerted on the bladder. Additionally, the hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy could cause stress incontinence.


Long term constipation could also cause difficulties when trying to control the bladder. This happens when an individual tries to strain during bowel movements and stresses the muscles in the process. With repeated straining, bladder muscles may become damaged, and lead to incontinence.


Sometimes, vaginal childbirth may damage bladder nerves or weaken the muscles, which could reduce the bladder’s ability to hold urine. Also, childbirth may result in a prolapsed pelvic floor. With this condition, the bladder and uterus get pushed down, in turn leading to incontinence.


Surgery is supposed to be a corrective measure. However, sometimes complications may occur, leading to damage to one’s pelvic muscles, especially when removing the uterus. Bladder muscles cannot function as they should if the pelvic floor is damaged. Therefore, the patient will most likely experience incontinence.

Certain Medications

This causes temporary short term incontinence. Specific medications have negative side effects that make urine flow without your control. Such medications include diuretics that treat liver and kidney diseases. Incontinence will stop immediately after you stop taking the medications. 


Infection of the bladder and urinary tract could cause urine to flow without your control. However, just as in the medication case, this is short-lived and should stop when the infection goes away.


This is the most common cause of incontinence. Bladder muscles weaken with age limiting the ability of a person to hold urine. It becomes more severe with age.

Each type of incontinence is treated differently. Therefore, the doctor will first need to evaluate your condition before choosing the right treatment option. They can also recommend exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscle. For more questions and treatment information, book an appointment with Women’s Healthcare Physicians of Naples.

Leave a Comment