Risk factors for urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary flow of urine caused by a weakened or completely lost control over the urinary sphincter. It is a widespread condition that affects many people, although it is more prevalent in women than in males.
While urine incontinence is mostly a problem for the elderly, there are several risk factors that might impact younger individuals as well.
These are some of the risk factors:
- Gender – Urinary incontinence affects both men and women, however it is more frequent in women. This is mostly due to the fact that many of the risk factors are related to female anatomy and the changes that women go through during their lives such as childbirth and menopause.
- Pregnancy and Childbirth – Due to the weight of the enlarging uterus on the bladder, many women have incontinence throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Impaired bladder control can also be caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
- Menopause – The tissue lining of the bladder and urethra is kept healthy by oestrogen. The tissues can begin to atrophy when oestrogen levels drop, increasing the risk of incontinence. Menopause causes the muscles around the bladder to weaken, causing the bladder to lose support.
- Ageing – Growing older is unavoidable, and it might be a contributing factor in the bladder’s supporting muscles, especially the pelvic floor, atrophying or losing strength. As a result, bladder prolapse becomes more common as people become older.
- Weight gain – Hormonal shifts, medical issues, lifestyle changes, and other factors can all contribute to weight gain. Excess weight puts strain on the bladder, making urge incontinence more likely. It can also strain the muscles that support the bladder, making stress incontinence more likely.
It’s crucial to realise that having one of these risk factors doesn’t ensure you’ll develop incontinence. It simply indicates that people with these variables are more likely to experience incontinence.