What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence refers to the inability to control one’s own bladder effectively. This is caused when the muscles in the bladder contract or involuntarily relax. Urinary incontinence can make it difficult to know when you have to go, and in some cases will even cause leakage or urinary accidents that are embarrassing and uncomfortable. While the condition is more common among those over the age of 65, affecting approximately one in every 10 retirement-age adults, it can occur in just about anyone.

Most often, urinary incontinence is a symptom of another underlying issue. The most common causes of chronic incontinence include:

  • Weakened pelvic floor
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Nerve damage
  • Chronic bladder inflammation, or interstitial cystitis

Urinary incontinence can also stem from disability or movement limitation, or in some cases may develop following a surgical procedure.

Risk Factors for Urinary Incontinence

There are several genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk for developing urinary incontinence. As mentioned previously, urinary incontinence is more common among individuals over the age of 65, but it is not reserved solely for that population. Certain chronic diseases like prostate cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, MS, or Alzheimer’s disease may increase your risk of experiencing urinary incontinence. Females are also more likely to experience incontinence.

Other factors that may increase your risk for urinary incontinence include:

  • Obesity
  • Tobacco use
  • High-impact sports
  • Neurological disorders
  • Certain medications

Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder is one of the most common forms of urinary incontinence. In this situation, people will feel the urge to use the bathroom suddenly and severely, and may not have enough time to get to a bathroom before relieving themselves.

The most common causes of overactive bladder include:

  • Previous stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Diabetes

In rare cases, an overactive bladder could be a warning indication of bladder cancer.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of overactive bladder or urinary incontinence, contact Dr. Scott D. Miller, MD here or call (404) 705-5201. In many situations there are treatment options available that can restore your control over your bladder.