What Causes Incontinence?

Incontinence – What causes it?

Firstly lets us review what Incontinence is:

Incontinence is a symptom of bladder and bowel dysfunction and should not be ignored.


Urinary Incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine by the International Continence Society ( ICS 2019)
Men and Women experience urinary incontinence although more women experience the problem than men. The prevalence is 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men and the incidence increases with age.
Faecal Incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of faeces. – when faeces is solid and/or – when faeces is liquid (ICS 2019)
One in ten people have a bowel problem including faecal incontinence.

It is important to understand the reasons why someone is incontinent or is experiencing issues with their bladder and bowel and when this happens.

What are the different types of Incontinence?

These are all detailed below:

Urge Incontinence – When the sensation to pass urine or faeces is present and is urgent causing leakage with very little warning.

Stress Incontinence – When exertion happens eg coughing, sneezing, transferring, walking . Usually no sensation to empty bladder or bowels as the incontinence happens due to a weakness within the pelvic floor muscle.

Passive Incontinence – When there is no sensation to pass urine or faeces, no warning that this is going to happen

Functional Incontinence – Inability to access toilet due to mobility or environment or dependency levels- sensation present. The Bladder and Bowel are generally functioning well with no identifiable dysfunction.

Overflow Incontinence – Due to incomplete bladder or bowel emptying. Urinary outflow obstruction can be caused by prostate problems (men), strictures (narrowing of the urethra), a bladder stone or tumours alongside neurological conditions. Faecal Overflow is mainly caused by constipation and neurological bowel conditions.

Finally what causes Incontinence?

There are many reasons why someone experiences incontinence they include:

• Pelvic Floor Muscle Weakness – can be found in both men and women
• Neurological problems eg Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Parkinsons
• Lifestyle factors – not drinking enough fluids can cause urinary urgency and constipation. Poor weight control, smoking, poor diet can also be contributory factors.
• Functional issues – restricted mobility and toilet access problems
• Cognitive ability – possibly not having the ability to recognise the sensation to empty bladder or bowels, and lack of recognition of socially acceptable place ie bathroom and toilet
• Prostate conditions (Men) – Usually in men over the age of 40
• Cancer and Cancer treatment specifically Radiotherapy

For more information about Incontinence visit www.forma-care.co.uk

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