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Risk Factors for Urinary Incontinence

A risk factor increases the chances of getting a disease or health problem. You can have urinary incontinence with or without any of these listed below. The more risks you have, the higher your chances of having them. Talk to your doctor about the steps you need to take to lower your risk.

The list points to the most common causes even though there are many types:


Having certain health problems can make the risk of incontinence higher. These are:


Incontinence is more common in people who are older. The risk of having it, as well as health problems that contribute to it, increases with age.


Incontinence is more common in women than in men.

The stress and urge types are more common in women. This can happen during or after pregnancy or menopause. These cause changes in the structure and strength of the pelvis.

Men are more likely to have the obstruction and overflow types. The prostate surrounds the tube that carries urine out of the body. Changes in the prostate can slow or stop urine flow.


Definition & facts of bladder control problems (urinary incontinence) & bladder health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Updated June 2018. Accessed January 24, 2019.

Miu DK, Lau S, Szeto SS. Etiology and predictors of urinary incontinence and its effect on quality of life. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2010;10(2):177-182.

Urinary incontinence in men. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Accessed December 4, 2018. Accessed January 24, 2019.

Urinary incontinence in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Accessed November 14, 2018. Accessed January 24, 2019.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD