What Are the Causes of Leaking Urine?

(Image: Pregnant woman image by Alexey Arkhipov from Fotolia.com)

When a person suffers from leaking urine, medical professionals call it "urinary incontinence." Different types of urinary incontinence occur for particular reasons. Stress incontinence happens at times of physical exertion such as sneezing, coughing or lifting something heavy. Urge incontinence occurs when the patient has a sudden and urgent need to urinate. Other types of urinary incontinence include overflow and functional incontinence. Patients can experience more than one type.

Bladder Weakness

Bladder weakness can occur with aging and cause urinary incontinence, according to the Mayo Clinic. When bladder muscles become weak with age, they lose the ability to store and hold urine. Exercises may help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and keep urine from leaking.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection can cause temporary urinary incontinence. The infection irritates the bladder and produces a strong urge to urinate, which may result in incidents of urinary incontinence. Treating the urinary tract infection will also treat the urge incontinence.


Pregnancy can cause urinary incontinence, both during pregnancy and after childbirth. During pregnancy, the uterus places pressure on the bladder and causes stress and urge incontinence. Childbirth can weaken the bladder muscles and cause incontinence issues for women. Some women also suffer damage to the bladder nerves during childbirth, which can result in incontinence.

Enlarged Prostate

Men with an enlarged prostate may suffer from urinary incontinence. Enlarged prostate usually occurs in men over the age of 40.

Bladder Cancer

Urinary problems occur with bladder cancer including urge incontinence. Incontinence is one of the symptoms of bladder cancer. Other symptoms include painful urination and blood in the urine.

Urinary Obstruction

Urinary, kidney or bladder stones can prevent the flow of urine in the urinary tract and cause overflow incontinence.

Neurological Disorders

Disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis can affect the ability to control the bladder muscles. Patients with spinal cord injuries may not be able to control the bladder and suffer from urinary incontinence, according to UCLA Health Systems.

Excess Weight

Excess weight and obesity puts pressure on the bladder and can cause the symptoms of urinary incontinence to become worse. Overweight patients with urinary incontinence are encouraged to lose weight to remove the pressure from the bladder, according to the website Womenshealth.gov.


Caffeine can affect urinary incontinence in two ways. It is a diuretic and a bladder irritant, which can lead to urge incontinence.


Some medications such as those used to treat heart problems and high blood pressure can cause bladder control issues. Muscle relaxants also can limit control of the bladder muscle, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Patients who suffer from frequent constipation may also suffer from bladder control issues. The bladder and rectum share nerves and constipation may cause the nerves to be overactive and result in a frequent urge to urinate.

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