Incontinence Risk Factors

Certain Incontinence Risk Factors  May Make You More Likely to Have Problems

Dr. J. Kyle Mathews treats all types of incontinence in women at his north Dallas office. Dr. Mathews believes that the more women know about incontinence, the better they are able to cope with the problem.

There are certain risk factors for incontinence that you cannot change, such as your age or your gender. There are other risk factors that you can lessen by making life style changes.

Urinary  Incontinence Risk Factors

The two most common types of incontinence that Dr. Mathews sees at his north Dallas office are urge incontinence and stress incontinence. The risk factors for urinary incontinence include:

  • Age—as you age, your bladder and urethra muscles get weaker. Your bladder is also unable to hold as much urine as it could when you were younger.
  • Gender—more women than men have problems with urinary incontinence due to their anatomy, as well as menopause, pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Diabetes
  • Certain neurological conditions—Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury or bladder cancer

Stress Incontinence Risk Factors

  • Childbirth—if you have had multiple vaginal births, women who had forceps delivery or who had to push for a prolonged amount of time are more at risk.
  • Have a hysterectomy.

Urinary Incontinence Lifestyle Risk Factors

A lifestyle risk factor for incontinence is something you can affect and change by altering your behavior.
These include:

  • Extra weight—if you are overweight or obese, the extra pounds put more pressure on the bladder and the muscles that surround it.
  • Diet—eating foods that are acidic (chocolate, citrus fruits and tomatoes) or drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol all increase your risk for incontinence.
  • Smoking—studies show that there is a higher risk for smokers to develop stress urinary incontinence than non-smokers.
  • High-impact exercise—Dr. Mathews would not discourage exercise, but for patients with incontinence issues, he may suggest switching to a low-impact regime.

 Fecal Incontinence Risk Factors

Fecal incontinence, when you have accidental leakage of liquid or solid stool or mucus from your rectum, has its own risk factors, many of which are the same as the risk factors for urinary incontinence. They include:

  • Age—this condition is seen most often in women who are either middle aged (over age 40) or elderly.
  • Gender—women have slightly more cases of fecal incontinence than men.
  • Having Conditions that Cause Nerve Damage—conditions like multiple sclerosis or diabetes can cause damage to the nerves that control defecation.
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia—during the later stages of these diseases, fecal incontinence may be a problem.

Whether you have urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence, you want a physician who is an expert at treating these conditions. Dr. J. Kyle Mathews devotes his north Dallas practice exclusively to the treatment of women’s urogynecology problems, so you can feel confident that you are in good hands. Contact our urogynecology clinic to talk about your incontinence. We’re located in Plano and here to serve the north Dallas community, including Frisco.