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Risk factors for urinary incontinence

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of risk factors for urinary incontinence.

Although urinary incontinence can be a distressing and inconvenient condition, it is treatable with options that include surgery, medication and physical therapy.

But some treatments, such as transvaginal mesh implants, can cause difficulties greater than the urinary incontinence itself.

The implants, marketed for treatment of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, have prompted thousands of lawsuits due to their tendency to fail and cause health problems. The most common reported problem is the vaginal mesh eroding and sticking through the walls of the bladder and vagina, causing severe pain.

The Mayo Clinic says the following factors can increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence:

Gender — Women are more likely than men are to have stress incontinence. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and normal female anatomy account for this difference. However, men with prostate gland problems are at increased risk of urge and overflow incontinence.

Age — As you get older, the muscles in your bladder and urethra lose some of their strength. Changes with age reduce how much your bladder can hold and increase the chances of involuntary urine release. However, getting older doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have incontinence. Incontinence isn’t normal at any age — except during infancy.

Being overweight — Being obese or overweight increases the pressure on your bladder and surrounding muscles, which weakens them and allows urine to leak out when you cough or sneeze.

Smoking — A chronic cough associated with smoking can cause episodes of incontinence or aggravate incontinence that has other causes. Constant coughing puts stress on your urinary sphincter, leading to stress incontinence. Smoking may also increase the risk of overactive bladder by causing bladder contractions.

Other diseases — Kidney disease or diabetes may increase your risk for incontinence.

If you have a vaginal mesh implant, you should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a mesh lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

See more information about urinary incontinence here:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinary-incontinence/DS00404