Is urinary incontinence serious?

Urinary incontinence itself is not usually serious, but it is usually a symptom of another underlying condition, which can be serious. Normally, the cause may be a less serious issue, such as a urinary tract infection or prostate problems. In rare cases, it can be a symptom of prostate cancer, bladder cancer, or neurological diseases such as Parkinson's.

In generally functioning people, urinary incontinence is not medically dangerous, but it can be socially very embarrassing. In poorly functioning people, including the bed-ridden, demented, or otherwise incapacitated, urinary incontinence can cause skin breakdown and repel caregivers. So overall, yes, urinary incontinence can be serious, its seriousness rising with its severity and depending upon the specific circumstances.

Lisa Rogo-Gupta
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
There are many kinds of urinary incontinence and some are more serious than others. New symptoms of incontinence should be shared with a physician so he or she can make sure there is not a serious cause. Urinary incontinence should also be cared for properly, with the vaginal area being cleaned and dried regularly to prevent ulcers and infections.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.