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The Top Causes Of Adult Incontinence



Suffering from adult incontinence is hard. Whether it affects someone you know or you personally, it is a hard adjustment. Click here to learn more about it!

It may come as no surprise that studies have shown that adult incontinence is a highly stigmatizing issue.

Many people hide this very common problem, often with detrimental effects.

In this post, we intend to outline what adult incontinence is and what the best action steps are to deal with it.

We at Minerva, Orange County, hope that you find this information helpful and that it will give you the confidence you need to take the first steps to tackle this issue.

Let’s get into it!

What is adult incontinence?

The Cambridge dictionary simply defines adult incontinence as being “unable to control the excretion of urine or the contents of the bowels.”

The problem can manifest itself in a variety of different ways from bed-wetting, to the inability of effectively emptying your bladder or even just not being able to make it to the toilet in time.

How many people does adult incontinence effect?

The short answer is more people than you would think.

With adult incontinence being such a taboo problem, it is often common for people who have the issue to feel like they are a small minority.

Studies have shown that 20% of community-dwelling older adults have enough incontinence to limit some aspect of their lives.

That’s a vast amount of the aged population.

However, adult incontinence is not limited to the elderly.

Many young men and women can deal with the problem, particularly where injury, childbirth or additional medical problems are present.

What are the top causes of adult incontinence?

No case of adult incontinence is the same.

Often it is made up of multiple different factors all playing a role.

Below are a few of the most common causes:

  • An overactive bladder.
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles.
  • An enlarged prostate.
  • Nerve damage, often from a stroke.
  • Mental health problems, often relating to memory.
  • Bladder inflammation.
  • Arthritis.
  • Muscle damage, often from childbirth or an injury.

What types of adult incontinence are there?

Adult incontinence can come in many different forms.

Before diagnosing yourself, we highly recommend going to visit your Doctor to ensure that you are properly tested to figure out what type of adult incontinence you have so that the proper treatment can be given.

We have summarized the main types of adult incontinence and linked their potential causes to them.

Stress incontinence.

Stress incontinence is the most common of all of the different types.

Typically urine is leaked as a result of an unexpected burst of pressure or stress on the bladder such as coughing, sneezing or picking up something heavy.

Weak pelvic floor muscles are often the culprit making stress incontinence very common among women who have just given birth or someone who has recently injured themselves.

Urge incontinence.

Usually indicated by extremely fast and unpredictable urges to use the toilet, someone who has urge incontinence often experiences leakage before making it to the toilet in time.

The most common cause for this is an overactive bladder and a key symptom is an increase in a number of times an individual needs to relieve themselves.

Overflow incontinence.

This may perhaps be the most frustrating variety of adult incontinence.

An individual with overflow incontinence frequently has an absence of the urge to urinate. (The feeling that tells you ‘you gotta go!)

This loss of feeling is often accredited to nerve damage or neurological problems.

However, problems with the prostate can also be to blame as can weaker pelvic floor muscles not being able to empty enough urine at a given time.

Overflow incontinence can sometimes be a side effect of certain medication like antidepressants and antipsychotics.

It may be worth exploring this with your doctor.

Functional incontinence.

Unlike all of the above, an individual who has functional incontinence can have a perfectly healthy urinary system.

Functional incontinence is when an individual is aware of their need to urinate or defecate but due to mental or physical reasons are unable to make it to the restroom in time.

Often patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s suffer from functional incontinence due to not being able to find the toilet or because they forget that they need to go.

However, individuals who have a physical ailment like a bad back or a recently injured leg are also likely to be subject to functional incontinence.

What can be done to treat adult incontinence?

As you can see from the different types of adult incontinence listed above, there is no one treatment that suits all.

For example, if you have functional incontinence (not being able to make it to the restroom in time due to say a knee problem) then treating the bladder will not be an effective solution for you.

We have collected some of the most effective treatments that may prove to be of use to you, both preventative and methods and ways to deal with the condition.

Preventative measures.


Individuals with functional incontinence could benefit from general exercises such as stretching, weight loss, and strength building to regain the physical ability to make it to the toilet on time.

However, people with all types of adult incontinence could benefit from strengthening their pelvic floor muscles.

These muscles play an important role in the retention and expulsion of urine and training them through exercises such as Kegels have been proven to have tremendous results.

Joining a pilates or a yoga class may also be a viable option for many people to train their pelvic floor muscles.

Lifestyle changes.

Another simple measure that can be used to treat all types of adult incontinence is making some lifestyle changes.

As mentioned above, exercise plays an important role, but diet and nutrition are also a very important factor.

Reducing the number of caffeinated drinks in an individual’s diet is a simple way to really improve incontinence issues.

Caffeinated drinks run through the body at a faster rate than water, so reducing things like coffee, soda and tea can be highly beneficial.

When you eat and drink also can play an influential role.

Timing drinking habits around restroom accessibility can lead to some great results.

Not drinking several hours before bed or before going out for an event can reduce a lot of accidents helping you get your confidence back by taking control.

Get into a routine.

Establishing a ‘pee schedule’ can be extremely beneficial particularly for those having problems with overflow incontinence (not having the urge to urinate.)

By getting into a rhythm and routine you can eliminate the chances of an episode as you will be regularly emptying your bladder whether you feel like it or not.

This can also be a great way to improve the overall problem as you can start to increase the intervals between each visit to the restroom to retrain your body into a healthy pattern.

A strength of this method is that an individual can make progress at their own rate and in their own time.

Medical methods.

An overactive bladder can be treated by a variety of medication and even some surgical procedures.

These would be used as a last resort after exhausting all other options. Your Doctor will be able to discuss these options with you should it be necessary.

Living with adult incontinence.

While exploring various treatment solutions, there are some ways you can deal with the problems adult incontinence can cause.

Pads and diapers.

Whether you choose a full diaper or a liner for your underwear will depend on your personal preference and the extent of your incontinence.

There are many fantastic options available that will suit your lifestyle and medical needs.


A common side effect of incontinence is irritation around the genitalia due to frequent urination or defecation and the consequent constant cleaning that entails.

Using the appropriate wipes can eliminate or at least prevent this irritating side effect.

Irritation cream.

Often irritation is unavoidable.

A high-quality treatment cream can make this more bearable and short-lived then it needs to be.

Overcoming the stigma and getting your confidence back.

The first step to dealing with adult incontinence is coming to terms with it, overcoming the societal taboo about the issue and stepping out to start tackling the issue.

Despite many people feeling insecure telling their Doctor about their incontinence issues (especially young people,) it truly is the best place to start.

Once you take this step it will become easy to implement some of the steps featured in this post to regain your confidence and take back control of your continence.

How Minerva can help.

Based in South Orange County, Minerva is a family and friends oriented company that prides itself on customer loyalty and overall value.

We specialize in providing a number of products relating to adult incontinence.

Should you require any assistance, please feel free to contact us at any time and we would be more than happy to help meet your needs and allow you to regain your freedom and confidence again.

Thank you very much for reading this post on the top causes of adult incontinence, we at Minerva hope that you found it helpful and look forward to working with you soon.

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