We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Causes of Adult Incontinence?

By Jessica Hobby
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Urinary continence in adults, often referred to as adult incontinence, occurs when urine leaks from the urethra, which is the vessel that carries urine from the bladder. Adult incontinence may be sudden and temporary or continual and long term. Additionally, adults who suffer from incontinence my only have slight leakage or they may have complete leakage characterized by the inability to hold any amount of urine. Adult incontinence, most frequent in the elderly and women, is a symptom with many possible causes.

Causes of sudden or temporary incontinence typically occur because of pressure on the bladder induced by specific medical conditions. For example, pregnant women, obese adults and those who are severely constipated may experience adult incontinence. A fetus, extra fat and compacted bowels indirectly or directly put pressure on the bladder causing stress or urge incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when a person leaks urine while laughing, coughing, sneezing or exercising. Urge incontinence occurs when a person has an urge to urinate immediately followed by an involuntary release of urine.

Other causes of sudden or temporary incontinence include infections of the prostate and urinary tract, bed rest during surgical recovery and states of mental confusion such as delirium and dementia. Some medications also cause adult incontinence. Specifically, diuretics, anti-depressants and tranquilizers cause incontinence by altering chemicals and brain functions that control urination.

Chronic and long-term urinary incontinence is typically a symptom of a serious medical condition. Any neurological conditions and diseases which may affect brain and nervous system functions may cause chronic adult incontinence. Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage and nerve damage may contribute to incontinence in adults.

Damage to the bladder in men or women and a damaged or enlarged prostate in men also cause urinary incontinence. These conditions may be symptoms of more severe complications, such as bladder cancer, bladder stones or prostate cancer. Similarly, damage to the bladder or prostate may occur during cancer treatment that includes radiation. Additionally, men and women who have had injuries or surgical changes in the structure of their urethra may also suffer from chronic urinary incontinence.

Other causes of chronic and long-term adult incontinence are exclusive to women. Women who have had a hysterectomy or given birth multiple times will have muscle weakness in the area surrounding the vagina and the sphincter. This weakness leads to a pelvic wall prolapse, which includes falling of the bladder, urethra, or rectum into the vagina. The pressure caused by these falling pelvic organs may cause acute incontinence.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.