Struggling With Urge Incontinence? 12 Reasons This Could Be Happening

Do you struggle with a constant need to go to the bathroom or find yourself unable to hold it in if your can’t reach the bathroom quick enough? These could be signs of overactive bladder (OAB), also known as urge incontinence.


Woman is struggling with the urge to use the bathroom
This is a common condition, especially in women, and can occur for a wide number of reasons. Avail Clinical Research conducts clinical studies on overactive bladder to help develop better treatment options for OAB and better understand what causes this condition. Keep reading to learn 12 reasons that might be causing your urge incontinence.


Giving birth, specifically through a vaginal delivery, is a common cause of stress incontinence.
This alters the normal support of the bladder and urethra, the tube through which urine is drained from the body.

When the bladder doesn’t have the proper support, you have less control. Fortunately, conservative measures such as strengthening exercises and minor surgery help 85% of people with stress incontinence.


Incontinence during pregnancy, another form of stress incontinence, can be caused by the weight of the growing fetus on the bladder structures or by certain hormonal changes, which increase urinary output. Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles during and after pregnancy.


Because a woman’s uterus shares muscles with the bladder, having a hysterectomy to remove the uterus (or any other pelvic surgery for that matter) runs the risk of damaging the bladder’s muscle support system.
Surgery, just like childbirth and pregnancy, can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder, uterus, as well as the vagina and rectum, leading to stress incontinence.


Urinary incontinence risk rises with age, not just in women but also in men (who experience incontinence about half as often as women).

Part of the problem is simple wear and tear. There are changes in the components of the tissue supporting the urinary system. They’re not as full and supple. That’s all there is to it.

Another cause can be brain damage from a stroke or dementia, which interferes with the central nervous system’s ability to send the right signals to the bladder.

Prostate Surgery

Apart from aging, the main reason men may experience incontinence is if they’ve undergone surgery for prostate cancer.The anatomical sphincter muscle is injured (during the procedure).

Because of this common side effect (in addition to possible erectile dysfunction), many doctors recommend “watchful waiting” for some prostate tumors, which may grow so slowly that the risk of surgery outweighs the benefits of tumor removal.

Enlarged Prostate

The prostate gland can be another source of incontinence if it’s been enlarged for a long time. Almost all men experience prostate enlargement, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, often after the age of 40.

The (enlarged) prostate gland can cause an obstruction and that obstruction causes an enlargement or thickening of the actual bladder muscle, which increases the chances of the bladder becoming unstable. If progressively more urine accumulates, there is eventually overflow (incontinence), especially in times of increased physical stress.


Incontinence can also be due to having diabetes, especially if the diabetes is poorly controlled or is long standing. The problem is usually due to neuropathy, the nerve damage that can be a complication of this common condition.

There is damage to the nerves supplying the bladder, so they may not feel that they’re bladder is swollen. They’ve lost the perception of when the bladder is full. And a diabetes-related rise in blood sugar can increase urinary output. (Getting up multiple times at night to use the bathroom is an early sign of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.)


Obesity (which often goes along with diabetes) definitely puts people at risk for stress incontinence. It will put more pressure on the bladder and the pelvic floor structures themselves.
But the obesity-incontinence link is more common in women than men, due to anatomical differences.

The good news is that incontinence treatments that work in normal-weight women are just as effective in obese women, so it’s definitely worth seeking treatment.

Medications and Drug Abuse

People who use the club drug ketamine, commonly known as “Special K,” for two or more years are more likely to develop urinary incontinence, according to a 2009 study. It’s basically a veterinary anesthetic so I could see how this would cause incontinence akin to someone who has dementia.

What he has seen, however, is difficulty urinating and overflow problems in people taking a lot of narcotics. And even some medications prescribed by your doctor can contribute to urinary incontinence.


Many women experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point, and this common problem can sometimes cause temporary incontinence. One of the main symptoms of UTI is feeling an urgent need to urinate.

While many women can make it to the bathroom in time, sometimes the need is just too overpowering. This cause of incontinence would resolve with treatment for the infection.

Uterine Fibroids

Although not a common occurrence, uterine fibroids can cause incontinence if they are large enough and if they push directly on the bladder. The scenario makes sense, given that the uterus and the bladder do sit side by side, but this is a less likely cause of incontinence.


Incontinence as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, or surgery doesn’t always immediately follow the event. It can come years or decades after the fact, often during or after menopause, simply because many of the mechanisms that allow the bladder to do its job properly are estrogen sensitive.

The estrogen (in younger years) may have been protective enough to compensate for previous structural damage. When the estrogen starts to wane, so does bladder control.



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