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Incontinence Advice

10 Possible Causes & Treatments

Why is my bladder so weak all of a sudden? Sudden urine leakage is common and frustrating. 5% of the population worldwide experiences incontinence[i]. There are several possible causes, from minor to more serious conditions. Diagnosing the cause will help you find treatment. In the below article we will discuss 10 possible causes and treatments. You can also use our ladies incontinence pads to help you manage your condition.

Women sat on toilet

Taking Certain Medications


Urinary incontinence or an overactive bladder can be a side effect of some prescribed medications. Certain medicines can affect the natural bodily processes of storing and releasing urine or increase the amount of urine that you produce. So, if you have recently started a new medication and are questioning ‘why am I leaking urine’, you may want to check your medicine cabinet.

Medicines that are known to affect the bladder include:

        Diuretics - a type of drug that causes the kidneys to make more urine.


        Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors - medications that help relax the veins and arteries to lower blood pressure.


        Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) - is a treatment to relieve symptoms of the menopause.


        Certain antidepressants - Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may cause urinary incontinence as a side effect, and it is seen that serotonin/noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants may decrease present urinary incontinence symptoms.


        Sedatives – a muscle relaxer



Neurological Conditions and Diseases


Certain neurological disorders can affect the nerves and muscles that control the bladder, leading to sudden and uncontrollable episodes of incontinence. In these cases, the neurological condition can disrupt the normal signalling between the brain and bladder, leading to bladder dysfunction.

Neurological disorders that can cause urinary incontinence include:

        Multiple sclerosis

        Parkinson's disease

        Spinal cord injury

        Brain injury



Treatment for incontinence due to neurological disorders may vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. For example, in some cases, medication or surgery may be necessary to address the neurological condition and improve bladder control. However, in other cases, behavioural therapies such as bladder training or pelvic floor exercises may be helpful in managing symptoms.

Additionally, there are a variety of incontinence products available, such as incontinence pads or adult pull up pants, that can provide temporary solution and help manage symptoms. It would be best to work with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs and underlying condition.

Blockage In The Urinary Tract


Any interference with the urinary tract can lead to a change in urine flow, which may lead to the bladder overflowing. Blockages in the urinary tract can develop over time, such as bladder or kidney stones, or more sudden issues can be caused by conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia or narrowing of the ureters.


Blockages in the urinary tract and disturbed urine flow can lead to infections, so seeking treatment quickly is vital. Once the cause of the blockage has been found, there may be several treatments available to you. The most common treatments for a blockage in the urinary tract include:

·         Medications

·         Inserting a catheter into your bladder through the urethra

·         Surgery to remove the obstruction

Women holding bladder next to toilet

An Enlarged Prostate Gland (Men Only)


In men, an enlarged prostate gland can lead to sudden episodes of incontinence.  As the prostate gland grows, it can put pressure on the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body. This pressure can cause difficulty in emptying the bladder completely, leading to urine leakage or dribbling. A visit to the GP to check the prostate, they may perform an examination of the prostate by inserting a finger into the rectum, this procedure is known as a Digital Examination of the Rectum (DRE) or a simple blood test known as a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), this will check the levels within the prostate.



Treatment for urinary incontinence due to an enlarged prostate gland may include medications to shrink the prostate or surgery to remove the gland. Bladder training or pelvic floor exercises may also be helpful in managing symptoms. In some cases, a combination of treatment options may be necessary to effectively manage symptoms and improve bladder control.

Weak Bladder Muscles


The muscles in the bladder play an important role in controlling the flow of urine. However, several factors can weaken the bladder muscles, such as ageing, pregnancy, childbirth, or certain medical conditions such as Diabetes or Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Weak bladder muscles can cause urine to leak out unexpectedly, leading to sudden episodes of urinary incontinence.



Treatment for weak bladder muscles may include pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, which can help strengthen the muscles that control the bladder. Behavioural therapies such as bladder training can also be effective in managing symptoms. If bladder weakness is caused by an underlying medical condition, medication or surgery may be necessary to address the issue.




Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves that control the bladder muscles and the sensation of fullness in the bladder. As a result, people with diabetes can develop a condition called Diabetic Neuropathy, which can cause the bladder to empty too frequently or too slowly, leading to urine leakage or incontinence. 


Treatment for leaking urine due to diabetes may include medications to control blood sugar levels and manage symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Depending on your symptoms, you may also find bladder training or pelvic floor exercises helpful. 

Male holding bladder



Stress can be a major factor in those wondering ‘why do I leak urine’. When the body is under stress, the muscles that control the bladder can become tense, leading to an increased urge to urinate. Chronic stress can also weaken the pelvic floor muscles, making it difficult to hold urine in the bladder.



The best treatment for stress incontinence is often pelvic floor training, as regular exercises help to keep the muscles of your bladder in a stable position. However, there are other treatment options that your healthcare provider may recommend. For example, some people find that biofeedback and bladder training are effective for them. On the other hand, doctors may prescribe medication to help relax the bladder or reduce the frequency of urination.

Read more on stress incontinence



What you eat can have some serious effects on the bladder, with certain foods irritating the bladder or acting as diuretics, increasing urine production and frequency. Spicy or acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners are common culprits. Additionally, constipation caused by a diet low in fibre can put pressure on the bladder and increase the risk of urinary incontinence.



To treat urinary incontinence related to diet, your doctor will likely recommend healthy dietary changes to make and the avoidance of irritants and increase fibre intake to prevent constipation. Some people may also benefit from pelvic floor exercises or biofeedback therapy to strengthen the muscles that control urination.  


Excess Body Weight


Excess body weight or obesity is another possible cause of urinary incontinence. The excess weight puts pressure on the bladder and pelvic muscles, weakening them and reducing their ability to control the flow of urine. In women, obesity can also lead to a weakening of the muscles in the pelvic floor, which can contribute to urinary incontinence.


Weight loss is the most effective treatment for urinary incontinence related to excess body weight. Losing weight can help reduce pressure on the bladder and pelvic muscles, which can improve urinary control. Studies have shown that even a modest weight loss of 5-10% can significantly improve urinary incontinence symptoms[iii]. In addition to weight loss, pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen the muscles that control urine flow if you are leaking urine due to excess weight.

female holding abdomen

Prostate Cancer


Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that affects the prostate gland, a small gland in men that produces seminal fluid. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. As a result, prostate cancer can cause urinary problems, including incontinence or the involuntary leakage of urine. This can occur due to the prostate gland pressing against the urethra, as well as damage to the urinary sphincter muscles that control the flow of urine. Although prostate cancer can cause incontinence, it’s vital to talk to a doctor to determine the root cause if you start leaking urine, as there are several other causes that could be behind your symptoms. However, with 1 in 8 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer[ii], catching it early is vital.




Management options for incontinence related to prostate cancer may include pelvic floor exercises, medications, or surgery. However, when it comes to treating prostate cancer, you will likely have to undergo surgery or radiation therapy. Unfortunately, incontinence is also a side effect of these treatments, so it’s important to discuss the potential side effects with your doctor.


Determine The Cause Behind Urinary Incontinence and Get The Right Treatment


Sudden episodes of urinary incontinence can be distressing to experience, but it’s important to remember that this is not an uncommon problem. By seeking medical advice, those experiencing sudden episodes of leaking urine can receive a proper diagnosis and effective treatment. Fortunately, with the right approach, it is possible to manage this condition and regain control of your bladder. So, if you are wondering "why am I leaking urine”, know that you are not alone, and this condition doesn’t have to last forever.

Read More: Causes of Urinary Incontinence



Is It Normal For Adults To be Incontinent?

No, it is not normal for adults to be incontinent, or leak urine. Although it may occasionally occur in adults, particularly as they age, it is not a normal or healthy condition. There are several causes of urinary incontinence, however there are plenty of treatments too. It's important to speak with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing symptoms of urinary incontinence to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.


Why Can't I Hold My Pee All Of A Sudden?

If you are suddenly struggling to control your bladder and are unconsciously peeing yourself, there can be several causes. For example, you may have weak pelvic floor muscles, a neurological disorder, side effects from medications or a UTI. To determine the cause of your symptoms, you should discuss them with a doctor.


What Are The First Signs Of Incontinence?

The first signs of urinary incontinence can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition, but some common signs to look out for include:

        Urinary urgency: A sudden and strong urge to urinate that may be difficult to control.


        Urinary frequency: The need to urinate more often than usual, even if you haven't consumed large amounts of fluids.


        Urinary leakage: Unintentional leakage of urine, which can range from small amounts to a complete loss of bladder control.


        Nocturia: The need to wake up during the night to urinate.


        Difficulty emptying the bladder: Straining or taking a long time to empty the bladder fully.