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Why do I have Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is not caused by a certain illness.

Several different conditions can cause urinary incontinence but the most frequent one is enlargement of the prostate.

It is a fact that the prostate grows with age. 20% of men around 40 and 80% of men in their 70s have an enlarged prostate – but not all have urinary incontinence.

The urine is formed in the kidneys when the blood is cleansed. From the kidney, the urine runs down into the bladder and thereafter out through the urethra. By the passing from the bladder to the urethra is the prostate. It is placed right below the bladder where it as a clamp surrounds the urethra. With age, the prostate grows and can become so big that it squeezes the urethra.

However, other illnesses can also cause urinary incontinence. The way your urinary incontinence appears determines which explanation is behind your nuisances.

1) Trouble with emptying the bladder

A slow stream of urine, a wait before the urination begins, the necessity of pressing the urine out by using the abdominals together with the feeling of not being able to completely emptying the bladder can arise if the prostate squeezes the urethra to such an extent that the urine can only exit with difficulty.

The prostate can squeeze the urethra so much that the urine cannot exit at all with a thereby following urine stop.

In more rare cases the cause of trouble with emptying the bladder may be:

- bladder stone
- bladder cancer
- prostate cancer
- your medication

2) Overactive bladder
Sudden urge for urination where you may not reach the toilet and frequent urination.

The bladder is a bowl where your urine is kept. Normally, the muscles of the bladder are calm while the bladder is filled with urine. When the bladder is full the brain sends a message to the bladder to contract – this is felt as the urge to urinate. Then when you visit the toilet, you can use the muscles of the bladder to squeeze the bladder and thereby empty it.

Thus, normally you decide for yourself when you want to urinate – you control it.

Sudden urge for urination where you do not reach the toilet in time is caused by involuntary contractions of the muscles of the bladder. The muscles of the bladder contracts without you being able to restrain it. If you have an overactive bladder, you only have a short warning that it is time. The bladder quickly empties without you being able to control it.

However, why does the muscles of the bladder suddenly contract? It is not certain why. It is a fact that the condition particularly occurs with men with an enlarged prostate. When the prostate is enlarged and squeezes the urethra, the bladder requires more power to overpower the resistance in the urethra. When the bladder requires a lot of power it becomes overactive and annoyed.

Other causes of overactive bladder:

- diabetes
- medication
- cerebral thrombosis
- nervous disorders
- prostate or bladder cancer

With some men with an overactive bladder, no explanation is found – even after very thorough examinations.

3) A Mixture of the first two
Both an overactive bladder and trouble with emptying the bladder.
If you have involuntary contractions of the muscles of the bladder together with resistance in the urethra you are be able to experience a sudden urge to urinate where you do not reach a toilet and a slow stream of urine, trouble with beginning urination and a feeling of not being able to completely empty the bladder.

Men with an overactive bladder and increased resistance in the urethra often have an enlarged prostate.

4) Dripping after urination
Dripping after you feel you have finished.

When the bladder is filled with urine and you contract the muscle around the bladder, urine exists the urethra. With men, a bulge on the urethra may arise – a small ‘pocket’ that is located by the root of the penis.

When you stand up and urinate, the bladder is emptied but at the same time a small amount of urine may gather in the ‘pocket’. If you then later bend over – for example to pick something up, or you sit down on a chair – the ‘pocket’ is squeezed and the result is dripping after urination.

The degree to which dripping after urination bothers you depends on how big your ‘pocket’ on the urethra is.

Further reading on How serious is it?