What Causes Incontinence


Neither urinary incontinence nor faecal incontinence is a disease but rather a sign of a problem related to lifestyle factors, physical problems or an underlying medical condition. As a result, both types of incontinence require treatment of the underlying cause to make them go away or ease the symptoms.

A number of things can cause loss of bladder control and urinary incontinence does not necessary indicate a serious disease. On the contrary, it can often be both successfully cured and relieved with simple lifestyle changes. Some of the most common and the most easily treatable causes of urinary incontinence include excess consumption of alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated beverages including soft drinks such as cola, and some herbal teas. The mentioned beverages act as diuretics and cause an increased urge to urinate. Drinking large amounts of fluids including water in a short period of time also increases the urge to urinate and may result in leakage of urine. Other easily treatable causes of urinary incontinence include the use of certain medications, constipation and urinary tract infection.

Urinary incontinence is often experienced during pregnancy and after childbirth as a result of increased pressure of the growing uterus on the urinary bladder and weakened muscles, respectively. Unfortunately, pregnancy-related incontinence cannot be cured but it will go away after delivery on its own. Leaking urine can be also related to the ageing process - in women due to hormonal changes after menopause and in men due to enlarged prostate.

Unfortunately, urinary incontinence can sometimes signal a serious underlying medical condition including cancer. If urinary incontinence persists for an unknown reason or if it is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it is necessary to seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive both the diagnosis and treatment because just about all conditions are treated a lot easier if detected early.

Just like urinary incontinence, faecal incontinence can be caused by a harmless disorder or potentially life-threatening condition. Constipation and diarrhoea are among the most common causes of inability to control bowel movements. Although constipation is characterized by difficulty passing stools, chronic constipation can lead to weakening of the rectal and intestinal muscles which in turn can lead to faecal leakage. Diarrhoea, on the other hand, is characterized by loose, watery stools and strong urge to have bowel movements. And if having severe diarrhoea, it may be difficult to reach the toilet in time.

Faecal incontinence can also be caused by damage of muscles and nerves which control bowel movements which in turn can be caused by a number of factors ranging from straining during bowel movements to underlying medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Other possible causes of faecal incontinence include haemorrhoids, damage to the anus due to surgery and rectal cancer. However, faecal incontinence caused by a serious underlying medical condition is usually accompanied by other signs which reveal that there may be a serious problem. But if inability to control bowel movements persists, it is necessary to seek medical attention to get diagnosis and receive treatment.