Urinary incontinence : what are the risk factors?

Urinary incontinence : what are the risk factors?

There are a multitude of factors that increase the risk of urinary incontinence, such as aging, weakening of the bladder and the muscles around it... Yet some of them can be avoided by adopting a relatively healthy lifestyle.


Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine


Why by maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and limiting your intake of caffeine (coffee, tea, cola...) and alcohol, you will reduce your risk of urinary incontinence?


  • Overweight (BMI of 30 kg/m² or more) causes continuous pressure on the bladder and the muscles around it: this promotes urine leakage, for example when you cough or sneeze.




  • Smoking is also a risk factor: excessive smoking is likely to cause chronic coughing, which in turn causes pressure on the urinary sphincter. Smoking can also lead to overactive bladder due to the irritating effects of nicotine on the bladder wall.


  • Caffeine and alcohol consumption are diuretics: under their action, the bladder fills up more quickly and triggers an urgent need to urinate.

  • Medicines with an "anti-cholinergic" action: neuroleptics, antidepressants, narcotics, antiparkinsonians, anti-arrhythmics, antispasmodics, antihistamines, calcium antagonists.


Activities should be monitored that promote urinary incontinence


  • Some sports, such as jogging, can contribute to (female) incontinence by putting pressure on the bladder that causes temporary urine leakage.

  • Gender is another risk factor: women are twice as likely as men to experience incontinence due to events such as pregnancy, childbirth and menopause, all of which are predisposing factors to incontinence. In addition, the duct from the bladder to the outside of women's bodies is shorter. 


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