Not Just An Inconvenience

Date: 11/10/21

In the vast majority of cases, incontinence is nothing serious to worry about. It is a common side-effect of pregnancy and childbirth, and can occur later in life as muscles, nerves and sphincters start to work less effectively than before. However, it is important to be aware that occasionally, the symptoms of incontinence can point to a more serious cause, which needs to be investigated and treated.

Even if you feel in complete control of your incontinence, using products such as Tena incontinence pants or Tena Lady incontinence pants, you should still see your GP just to make sure there is nothing else going on. Once again, it is very unlikely that there is a more serious problem, but it is always better to be sure than to leave something serious untreated.

It may even be the case that treatment of the underlying cause cures incontinence in the process. That’s why it’s always worth getting the problem investigated rather than just resigning yourself to Tena incontinence pants for the rest of your life.

Here are some of the possible problems associated with urinary incontinence:


Bladder cancer and tumours in the urinary tract can both directly cause incontinence, while brain tumours can interfere with how the nerve signals are processed. Undiagnosed prostate cancer in men can also lead to incontinence, although treatment for prostate cancer often leads to incontinence problems too.

Neurological Issues

Incontinence can be a warning sign that there are issues with the messages from the brain to the bladder and vice versa. There are a number of neurological issues that can affect the spinal cord and the nerves leading to the bladder, including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, spina bifida and multiple sclerosis.

Nerve Damage

Damage to the spinal cord, or to the nerve supply to the bladder can lead to problems with incontinence. This can occur in an accident or during surgery, and the damage may not always be obvious at the time until these symptoms start to appear. 


From common urinary tract infections to rare connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, there are a number of medical causes of incontinence. These should always be investigated as a possible reason for the problem, as many of them can be cured, stopping the leaks.

Stones And Blockages

Sometimes, stones form in the urinary tract, similar to kidney stones. These can block the normal flow of urine and cause overflow incontinence. An enlarged prostate, even if it is not cancerous, can also block the urinary tract. Severe constipation can both press on the bladder and obstruct the urinary tract, causing incontinence problems.

Drug Reactions

A wide range of drugs, from HRT hormones to ACE inhibitors, diuretics to anti-depressants can cause problems with incontinence. Such reactions are rare but you should always mention them to your GP, as an alternative drug may be available which could solve the problem.


With the onset of menopause, women’s bodies produce less oestrogen. This hormone is used to maintain the health of the bladder lining and urinary tract, and so less oestrogen can lead to problems. Your GP can prescribe HRT that can reverse this.

It is important to remember that incontinence is a common problem, and that by contrast,  most of the possible causes listed above are rare. There are short term solutions such as the use of Tena incontinence pants or pads. Nonetheless, it is vital that you see your GP if you are experiencing incontinence, especially if it has started suddenly and you have not had problems before.

View all news