Skip to content

Urinary Incontinence: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Table of Contents

Urinary Incontinence

Table of Contents

Urinary incontinence is a health condition caused when

  • Bladder muscles are weakened
  • The pelvic floor is damaged
  • Prostate is enlarged
  • Menopause sets in
  • There is cancer in the bladders

Some neurological conditions or medications can also cause urinary incontinence. WHO lists the condition as ICD-10 code N39 under the range of “Diseases of the genitourinary system”. The term urinary incontinence ICD-10 contains all types of conditions of incontinence.

In this article, we have brought to you the causes, symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures of urinary incontinence so that your search on this bladder issue ends here, with us. Read on for more info on what you need to do if you have urinary incontinence!

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a health condition when you lose control over your bladder. In certain cases, you may empty your bladder while in other cases, you might experience a minor leakage. This condition might be chronic or temporary depending on its root cause.

The Urology Care Foundation mentions that millions of Americans experience urinary incontinence in a women-to-men ratio of 2:1. This condition can affect a person as they age, i.e., when age affects the muscles supporting their bladder. These muscles might weaken at one point in time and lead to urinary incontinence. It’s just not age that leads to this bladder issue, there are several other factors such as cancer, enlarged prostate, infections, kidney stones, etc.

If you suspect you have urinary incontinence, get an appointment with a medically qualified person as it can come in between your daily life and lead to potential accidents. A healthcare professional will be able to determine any hidden medical conditions and find treatments for the same.

Types of Urinary Incontinence ICD-10

Urinary incontinence has 3 general categories and one may experience more than one of its types at the same time. Let’s take a look!

  • Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence is brought on by certain physical activities where you tend to lose control of your bladder. Such as=ctivities cause stress on the sphincter muscles that hold the urine in your bladder. The added stress might cause those muscles to release the locked-up urine. Here’s a list of such stress-causing activities:

  • Exercising
  • Laughing
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence is caused when you lose control of your bladder after having a strong and sudden urge to urinate. Once this urge hits, you might not be able to reach a bathroom in time.

  • Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence occurs when you don’t empty your bladder when you are urinating. Later, some of the leftover urine might leak from your bladder. This issue is also at times called “dribbling”.

  • Functional Incontinence

Functional incontinence is caused by mental or physical barriers that prevent one from making it to the bathroom in time. This disability could be caused by cognitive issues such as

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Neurological issues like spinal cord injury or stroke
  • Muscular issues like arthritis

Causes of Urinary Incontinence and Its Risk Factors

There are several risk factors and potential causes for urinary incontinence. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Going through menopause
  • Having diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Being pregnant
  • Heaving an infection such as
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney infection
  • Bladder infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Heaving neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a physical condition that prevents you from reaching a bathroom on time
  • Having bladder or prostate cancer that can pressurize your bladder
  • Having an enlarged prostate
  • Having physical damage to your pelvic floor muscles such as from giving birth
  • Having weakened bladder muscles that might be due to aging

Some of these conditions are super easy to treat and cause temporary urinary incontinence issues. Others, however, could warrant some serious medical attention. Here’s an elaborate explanation of some of these common causes of urinary incontinence ICD-10:

  • Aging

As you get older, your bladder muscles become weak which puts you at risk of urinary incontinence. To maintain a healthy bladder and strong muscles, you must stay as active as possible, maintain a healthy weight, and eat a nutrient-rich diet. This might help in improving your chances of dodging incontinence as you age.

  • Damage

The bladder is supported by your pelvic floor muscles. When they get damaged, it leads to urinary incontinence. The pelvic muscles could get damaged by

  • Childbirth
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgeries like hysterectomy
  • Enlarged Prostate

In a male body, the neck of the bladder is surrounded by the prostate gland which releases a fluid to nourish and protect the sperm. The gland enlarges as men age and it’s common for them to experience minor urinary incontinence as a result.

  • Cancer

People with bladder or prostate cancer can also experience some kind of incontinence. Sometimes, cancer treatments also make it difficult to control the bladder. Even benign tumors can cause urinary incontinence as it blocks the flow of urine.

  • Other Potential Causes

Here are some other potential causes of urinary incontinence ICD-10 such as:

  • Side effects from medications like sedatives, muscle relaxants, blood pressure drugs, or some heart medicines
  • Interstitial cystitis or a chronic health condition that leads to inflammation in the bladder
  • Prostatitis or inflammation in the prostate
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • (UTI) urinary tract infection
  • Constipation

Sometimes lifestyle changes may also cause urinary incontinence even though it might be temporary. For instance, too much caffeine or alcohol intake can make you temporarily lose control of your bladder.

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence ICD-10

When to Seek Medical Help

All instances of urinary incontinence are a sign to seek medical help as it could be a symptom of an underlying disease. Even if the underlying cause is a non-serious issue, incontinence can turn out to be a major disruption of your daily life. An accurate diagnosis and treatment are required to treat it. Some cases of incontinence are a sign of a medical emergency so keep an eye out for them:

  • Loss of bowel control
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of vision
  • Tingling or weakness in any part of your body
  • Trouble walking or speaking

What to Expect At The Appointment

During a medical checkup of urinary incontinence, your healthcare provider will try to get to know your symptoms by asking questions like how long you have suspected urinary incontinence, which type you are experiencing, and others. They may also make a note of your habitual life including any supplements or medications you are taking and your typical diet.

Depending on your medical history and symptoms, they may also order further medical tests that include:

  • Urine analysis: They will ask you for a urine sample and check it in the laboratory for infection or other issues.
  • Catheter analysis: In this test, a catheter is inserted into your bladder and urethra and the amount of urine in it is measured. Apart from that, the amount left in your bladder after you urinate and the pressure build-up on your bladder are also measured.
  • Cystoscopy: Cystoscopy is a test where they insert a small camera into your bladder and examine it up close.

Urinary Incontinence: Treatment Involved

Your treatment plan will depend on your incontinence. Underlying medical issues will demand surgery or medication. Rarely, do medical professionals fail to cure incontinence but they will suggest some methods to manage your situation effectively. Treatment plans for urinary incontinence include:

  • Bladder training: You will be recommended pelvic floor exercises to control your bladder better.
  • Behavior therapy: Behavioural therapy involves managing your fluid intake, using the bathroom at scheduled times, adjusting your diet, etc. (basically, bringing your daily life into a routine so your bladder knows when to pee and where).
  • Condition management: If there is an underlying condition of your incontinence such as UTI or constipation, you will be treated for the condition which will cure your incontinence as well.
  • Medication: Sometimes, you can cure your incontinence with medicines but it depends on the causes. Antimuscarinics are a set of drugs that treat an overactive bladder.
  • Catheter placement: If the incontinence is persistently affecting your quality of life, you will be suggested an external or internal catheter to manage the overflow.
  • Weight loss: losing weight also helps in treating urinary incontinence because it relieves the pressure on your bladder.
  • Absorbent undergarments: Using absorbent undergarments or pads (washable to disposable ones) also help in managing small leaks.
  • Reducing bathroom barriers: If you are having physical trouble navigating toward the bathroom, it could lead to urinary incontinence. So maintain a well-lit and obstacle-free path (especially at night) to help you get there ASAP.

Complications of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence and its treatment might lead to certain complications. It all depends on what causes the incontinence in the first place. Let’s check out some of these complications so that you don’t surprise yourself:

  • UTIs: Urinary tract infections may be caused by wet undergarments as they create an environment for bacteria to thrive.
  • Kidney damage: Some cases of incontinence may be due to damage to your kidneys. This restricts the flow of urine which leads to incontinence.
  • Cellulitis: It is a bacterial skin infection that is characterized by pain and swelling on the skin.
  • Side effects of medications: medicines used to control urinary incontinence may cause side effects such as hypertension, nausea, dry mouth, and others.
  • Catheter side effects: When you have a catheter fixed you may experience side effects such as trauma and infection.
  • Mental health side effects: Incontinence may lead to feelings of social isolation, depression, and anxiety.

Prevention of Urinary Incontinence

It is impossible to prevent all cases of urinary incontinence but there are some methods you could follow to reduce the risk of developing the condition. Here’s what you can do:

  • Seek prompt treatment for bladder infections and urinary tract infections
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Get plenty of exercises
  • Maintain a healthy weight

A Final Word on Urinary Incontinence

Bladder incontinence or urinary incontinence occurs when you cannot control your bladder. This means emptying your bladder or minor leaks or somewhere in between. Urinary incontinence can be a temporary issue if it’s caused by infections or it could be a permanent one that may be caused by an underlying medical condition such as pelvic floor weakness or an enlarged prostate.

A medical professional will be able to assist you to resolve your condition by finding out its root cause. They may also help you manage the condition by suggesting medication, bladder training, behavioral therapy, or other such treatments.

Even if your urinary incontinence is not caused by a serious health issue, it can affect your quality of life and lead to social anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. You must get in touch with a doctor and resolve the condition as soon as possible.

Urinary Incontinence: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention FAQs

1. What is the main cause of urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is typically caused by issues in the nerves and muscles that help the bladder pass or hold urine. Certain health events typically occur in women such as menopause, childbirth, and pregnancy can lead to such issues in the bladder nerves and muscles. Being overweight is another cause of urinary incontinence.

2. What are some urinary incontinence medications?

Anticholinergics calm an overactive bladder and might be helpful for urinary incontinence. Examples of this medication include:
  • Mirabegron (Myrbetriq)
  • Trospium chloride
  • Solifenacin (Vesicare)
  • Fesoterodine (Toviaz)
  • Darifenacin (Enablex)
  • Tolterodine (Detrol)
  • Oxybutynin (Ditropan XL)
  • 3. Can urinary incontinence be cured?

    Urinary incontinence happens to everyone and its severity varies depending on the person’s age and the type and cause of the condition that they have. Primarily, urinary incontinence can be controlled or cured with appropriate medical treatment and exercises involving lifestyle changes.

    4. How do you stop urinary incontinence?

    Here are 8 ways to control urinary incontinence:
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Put a bar on your caffeine intake
  • Treat constipation promptly
  • Lose excess weight
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights
  • Do the right exercises
  • Stop smoking
  • Do pelvic floor
  • exercises

    5. What are the symptoms of urinary incontinence?

    Here are some of the common symptoms and signs of urinary incontinence:
  • Urinating while you sleep
  • Waking up during the night to pee
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling an uncontrollable, sudden urge to urinate
  • Leaking urine when exercising, laughing, sneezing, or coughing
  • Dr. Mitali Rathod

    Dr. Mitali Rathod

    Hi! I'm Dr. Mitali Rathod, and I have a deep passion for all things related to menstruation, hormones, pregnancy, and reproductive health. I enjoy simplifying these complex topics on social media to empower women with a better understanding of their bodies. My mission is to assist women in comprehending the intricacies of periods and reproductive health through a holistic and sustainable approach.

    Over the past eight years and counting, I've been dedicated to helping women achieve their best possible health. This journey has included the safe delivery of over 3000 babies, both through vaginal and C-section procedures.

    I take pride in my contributions to some of Ahmedabad's and Gandhinagar's best government hospitals, such as V.S. General Hospital, S.C.L. General Hospital, and Civil Hospital of Gandhinagar. My commitment to women's health and well-being continues to grow, and I look forward to making a positive impact on even more lives in the future.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

    Share this Article

    Disclaimer: All content found on our website is published for informational and/or educational purposes only; not intended to serve or offer any form of professional/competent advice. We put in every effort to ensure that all information is just, accurate, fool-proof, useful, and updated but do not assume responsibility or liability, to loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence of information provided. Parenthoodbliss may earn commissions from affiliate links in the content.

    Rectangle 22

    Did not find what you were looking for?

    Drop-in your request and we will be happy to write it down for you!