Urinary incontinence occurs when an individual loses the ability to control the release of urine, and it is often the result of an underlying condition such as weakened bladder muscles, according to Everyday Health. Incontinence can also be the result of overactive bladder muscles, nerve damage, bladder inflammation, side effects from surgery or an enlarged prostate.
Urge incontinence can appear gradually and worsen with time as people age, notes Everyday Health. The most common form of incontinence in young women is stress incontinence, and men often experience overflow incontinence as a result of benign prostatic hyperplasia caused by enlarged prostate glands. As the prostate grows larger, it starts to obstruct the urethra, which then interrupts the steady flow of urine.
Other forms of incontinence include functional incontinence, based on the person's mental or physical ability to get to the bathroom in time, explains Everyday Health. Functional incontinence generally occurs in people with dementia or any condition that restricts a person's mobility. Anatomical defects or spinal injuries can cause gross total incontinence, and some individuals suffer from the condition from birth.
The risk of developing incontinence depends on several factors, such as gender, age, weight, smoking and chronic disease, reports Everyday Health. Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, diabetes and vascular disease can increase a person's risk for incontinence. Additionally, participating in high-impact sports, such as those that include jumping, can create extra pressure on the bladder, which can cause a person to lose some amount of urine during activity.