What Are The Causes Of Urge Incontinence?

For the majority of people with urge incontinence, the underlying cause of your condition will not be known. This is called idiopathic urge incontinence, also known as the overactive bladder syndrome.

Even if the underlying cause is unknown, we will assess your lifestyle to see whether there are certain triggers for your condition and improvements can be made with simple adjustments to reduce the effect of these triggers. They can include:

  • Caffeine – especially if you consume more than five to seven cups of tea or coffee each day.
  • Alcohol – people respond differently to alcohol, even relatively small amounts and it can trigger urge incontinence.
  • Stress – this can make urge incontinence worse (and some people become locked in a cycle of feeling stressed about urgency which further exacerbates the problem).

Known and identifiable causes of urge incontinence

When a person has urge incontinence, we will always assess whether there are known underlying issues which need to be identified in order for treatment to be effective.

  • Nerve damage can cause urge incontinence, by firing faulty messages between the bladder and the brain. Nerve damage can occur as a result of an injury or be a sign of the early onset of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Men with an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) usually have urge incontinence, because the large prostate obstructs the normal flow of urine and the bladder does not empty properly. We explain symptoms and treatments for the enlarged prostate in more detail.
  • Infections such as cystitis and prostatitis can cause the bladder to become overactive and hypersensitive. Any infection needs to be identified and treated in order for urgency to be effectively addressed.
  • Stones in the bladder can cause urge incontinence as well as pain.