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Cause

Urinary incontinence occurs when the bladder's sphincter muscle is not strong enough to hold back the urine. This may happen when:

  • The sphincter is too weak.
  • The bladder muscles contract too strongly.
  • The bladder is too full.

Prostate treatment is a major cause of urinary incontinence in men.

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  • Short-term incontinence after prostate surgery can go away with time, especially for younger men. In some cases, it lasts up to a year.
  • Stress incontinence is a common problem after prostate removal (radical prostatectomy) or radiation treatment for prostate cancer. It is becoming less common with better surgical techniques.
  • Some treatments for an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) can also cause incontinence. But this isn't common.

The bladder contractions that cause urge incontinence can be caused by many conditions, including:

  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Bowel problems, such as constipation.
  • Prostatitis. This is a painful infection of the prostate gland.
  • Certain conditions that affect nerve signals from the brain, such as Parkinson's disease or stroke.
  • Kidney or bladder stones.
  • Blockage from prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Overflow incontinence is usually caused by blockage of the urethra from BPH or prostate cancer. Other causes include:

  • Narrowing of the urethra (stricture).
  • Medicines, such as antihistamines and decongestants.
  • Nerve conditions, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis.

You can have one or more types of incontinence. Each type may have a different cause.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 06, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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