Urinary Incontinence: Risk Factors

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Risk factors for Urinary Incontinence

Even if you have never been pregnant, your pelvic organs (bladder, vagina, and uterus) may move slightly as you age, especially if you are constipated or cough frequently. This can lead to bladder problems, including urinary incontinence. 

Urological factors

  • Overactive bladder
  • Bladder prolapsus
  • Bladder infection
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder tumour

Non-urological factors

  • Constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth
  • Diet and hydration factors (such as excessive consumption of liquids, alcohol, or caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee)
  • Reduced mobility
  • Polypharmacy
  • Certain medications (such as diuretics)
  • Cognitive problems
  • Neurological causes (Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, herniated disc, spinal lesion)
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Un-controlled diabetes
  • High level of calcium in the blood

Constipation and urinary incontinence

Constipation may contribute to weakening the pelvic floor, which can be a cause of urinary incontinence. Staying active helps keep bowel movements regular. Walking strengthens the abdominals and contributes to peristalsis. Abdominal massage may help activate your intestine if it is slow. Avoid bearing down to push your feces out.

Menopause and urinary incontinence

At menopause, oestrogen levels drop, and that can increase the probability of urinary incontinence, since the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles weaken. There are simple methods to prevent this situation, the most common being Kegel exercices.

Next: Prevention and Treatment


We are pleased to house this series of FAQs supervised by Cara Tannenbaum, from the Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.

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