Urinary problems can be the symptom of an underlying condition or be related to a physical disease. A wide range of conditions can cause urinary problems.
Medical conditions causing urinary issues:
- Weakening of the pelvic floor due to childbirth or surgery
- Enlarged prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH)
- Prostate or bladder surgery
- Bladder cancer
- Damage to the nervous system (neurogenic conditions)
Urinary incontinence in itself is not part of the process of aging. Many cases can be managed through a variety of interventions. You should consult with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and recommended management options.
Changes with age
Aging of the bladder muscle can decrease the bladder's capacity to store urine. Aging of the pelvic floor muscles may lead to a weak pelvic floor and incontinence.
After menopause women produce less estrogen, a hormone that helps keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. The weakening of this tissue can cause incontinence.
Hormonal changes and the increased weight of the uterus can lead to stress incontinence.
Vaginal delivery can weaken muscles needed for bladder control and can be associated with incontinence.
Any surgery that involves the reproductive system may damage the supporting pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to incontinence.