Drugs that cause urinary incontinence in women

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Urinary incontinence happens when a person lacks the capability to control the release of urine. Depending on the situation, the incontinence could last for a short time or become long-lasting. It affects more women than men. It is extremely common and curable. The different types are urge, stress, overflow, functional and mixed incontinence. It is usually due to an infection, damage to the urinary tract or damage to the bladder muscles and nerves. Some other reasons include multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's or even stroke. Many drugs can cause urinary incontinence. Caffeine, alcohol, pseudoephedrine, morphine, codeine, diazepam and many types of antihistamines are a few.


Urge incontinence is the sudden need to urinate, typically followed by the release of urine. Stress incontinence occurs when you laugh, sneeze or cough. Small amounts of urine leak out at these moments, due to the pressure of the action on the bladder. Overflow incontinence is caused by a bladder that does not empty completely, where leakage of urine occurs. Functional incontinence happens when someone urinates before making it to the toilet. Mixed is a blend of more than one kind of incontinence.


Caffeine, alcohol and diuretics cause an increase in urine production. Diuretics flush water and salt out of your body producing more urine during this process. Antidepressants affect incontinence by overflow or urge incontinence. Alpha-adrenergic agonists, also known as pseudoephedrine cause the urinary sphincter muscles to tighten. Other effects include urinary withholding and overflow of urine. Substances such as morphine or codeine are known as opioids. Opioids cause urinary retention and overflow incontinence. Constipation may become worse causing urge and overflow incontinence to worsen. Diazepam is a sedative that relaxes and slows a person's system down, causing a person to be unaware of the need to urinate. Many antihistamines can cause urinary retention and overflow incontinence. Just like opiods, antihistamines can cause constipation to become worse, making urge or overflow incontinence increase in frequency.

Other Drugs

A few other drugs such as terazosin, captopril, donepezil and oestrogen-progestin therapy are some other common causes of incontinence. Terazosin, which is known as an alpha-adrenergic blocker, is used to treat high blood pressure and enlarged prostates. Terazosin may cause stress incontinence in women by relaxing the bladder passage and the urethra. Captopril is also used to treat high blood pressure, improve survival after a heart attack and aid with kidney problems as a result of diabetes. This drug causes women to cough more often and increases symptoms of stress incontinence. Donepezil is also known as a cholinesterase inhibitor. It is used to treat dementia. The effect of donepezil increases bladder contractility and can cause urge incontinence. Oestrogen-progestin therapy is known as hormonal therapy. Taking orally, it is correlated with new or worsening effects of incontinence in women. Applied topically, the oestrogen may cause symptoms of incontinence just like the other drugs, but symptoms of incontinence can be cured if properly treated by a doctor.

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