Causes of Persistent or Acquired Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the inability of the bladder to control the flow of urine. Sometimes, urinary incontinence in men is temporary; other times, it can persist. Causes of persistent or acquired incontinence may include:

  • Aging
  • Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis)
  • Prostatitis
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Prostate cancer
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder cancer
  • Neurological disorders
  • Bladder obstruction

Aging and Incontinence

Although incontinence is more common in older adults, it’s not necessarily a normal part of the aging process. As you age, the muscles in your bladder tend to relax, which sometimes makes it more difficult to control the flow of urine. Certain medications that tend to be associated with aging (e.g., blood pressure medications, medications to treat heart disease) can also cause urinary incontinence.

Painful Bladder Syndrome Incontinence

Painful bladder syndrome, also known as interstitial cystitis, is a chronic inflammation of the bladder. Bladder inflammation can cause an increased sense of urgency and an increased frequency of urination, which can sometimes lead to urinary incontinence.

Prostatitis Incontinence

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. Prostatitis can sometimes cause bladder irritation, and in some cases, urinary incontinence.

Enlarged Prostate Incontinence

Your prostate gland is located just below your bladder, so when it becomes enlarged, it often causes urinary problems, such as weak urine stream, leaking or dribbling, frequent urination, and urge incontinence.

Prostate Cancer Incontinence

Urinary incontinence in men is common after prostate cancer treatment, particularly radiation therapy and radical prostatectomy. Because the prostate gland is so close to your bladder, radiation therapy can damage your bladder, causing it to leak urine. During prostate gland removal, the nerves that control your bladder can become damaged.

Bladder Stones and Bladder Cancer Incontinence

Bladder stones are small stones in your bladder that are made up of minerals. They are a result of concentrated urine that becomes crystallized or foreign objects in your bladder. Bladder stones can cause bladder irritation or obstruction of urine from the bladder, which can lead to urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence can sometimes be a sign of bladder cancer, as bladder cancer symptoms often include frequent urination, painful urination, urinary urgency, and urinary leakage.

Neurological Incontinence

Neurological disorders that affect the brain and spinal cord (e.g., multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease) can interfere with nerve signals from your brain to your bladder, resulting in urinary incontinence.

Bladder Obstruction and Incontinence

Bladder obstruction can prevent urine from flowing out of your bladder and into your urethra so it can exit your body. The most common causes of bladder obstruction include bladder stones, tumors, and enlarged prostate. Bladder obstruction can lead to overflow incontinence.

For more information on causes of persistent or acquired incontinence, contact Leroy Jones, MD, urology doctor of San Antonio, Texas.