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Urinary incontinence is a stressful condition that affects your bladder control. Although it’s common, it can be embarrassing and cause you to feel uncomfortable leaving the house. Men with prostate enlargement and/or prostatitis are likely to experience urinary symptoms. Many women experience some form of urinary incontinence during and after childbirth. However, the condition can also be caused by other things, such as nerve damage, muscle spasms, and poor lifestyle. 


Some people may experience temporary incontinence after consuming certain foods and medications. There are also many substances that stimulate the bladder and increase the amount of urine the body produces.

Bladder-Irritating Substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy foods, such as chili peppers
  • Acidic foods
  • Medications: heart/blood pressure medications, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and large doses of vitamin C

Easily treatable conditions such as urinary tract infections and constipation can also cause temporary incontinence.

Persistent urinary incontinence may be caused by: 

For Men:

  • Age-related changes in muscle tissue
  • Enlarged prostate or BPH
  • Prostatitis
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Neurological disorders (MS, Parkinson’s, brain tumors, spinal injuries)

For Women:

  • Age-related changes in muscle tissue
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Hysterectomy
  • Neurological disorders (MS, Parkinson’s, brain tumors, spinal injuries) 

Types of Urinary Incontinence: 

Stress Incontinence: Urine leakage when you unintentionally put pressure on the bladder (coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, lifting something heavy). 

Urge IncontinenceSudden urge to urinate followed by involuntary urination. 

Overflow Incontinence: Frequent or constant dribbling of urine. 

Functional Incontinence: Physical or mental impairment prevents you from making it to the toilet on time. 

Mixed Incontinence: More than one type of incontinence. 


Your doctor will ask you a variety of questions to obtain a detailed medical history. The first step is determining what type of incontinence you are experiencing. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and may ask you to cough to check for stress incontinence. 

You will be asked for a urine sample, and you may be asked to keep a bladder journal for a few days to document your fluid intake and urine production. If more information is needed, your doctor may perform a urodynamic study and/or pelvic ultrasound. 


There are a variety of treatment options for urinary incontinence. Your doctor will recommend the least invasive therapies first before moving on to other treatments if those fail to help. 

Treatment options, ranging from least to most invasive:

  • Behavioral and physical therapies:
    • Fluid and diet management 
    • Bladder training
    • Double voiding
    • Scheduled toilet trips
    • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Medication 
  • Medical devices
  • Injections and nerve stimulation
  • Catheters
  • Surgery
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