What Causes Loss of Urinary Control?

Published Online: Saturday, January 1, 2005

Although urinary incontinence is more prevalent in women than in men, 5 million men in the United States are affected. The causes of urinary incontinence include the following:

  • Prostate problems?Difficulty and unpredictability in passing urine is a common occurrence in prostate abnormalities. The condition also can be the side effect of total removal of the prostate.
  • Head and spinal cord injury?Damage to the head or spinal cord as a result of disease or trauma can cause loss of bladder control, because messages passing from the brain to the bladder are interrupted or lost.
  • Disease?Neurologic diseases, both cancerous and benign, and degenerative diseases (eg, Parkinson's disease) are some the reasons for loss of urinary control.
  • Medications?Drugs that have a sedating effect, especially in high doses, can cause incontinence.
  • Mental state?Emotional distress and illness may lead to urinary incontinence.


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