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What Happens To Untreated Nighttime Incontinence & When To Go To Doctor?

Urinary incontinence during nighttime or the bladder control loss is a common yet embarrassing problem among adults. The problem may be anything whether it is occasional leakage of urine while you sneeze or cough and a strong urge to urinate suddenly that you have to get a toilet in less time.(1)

What Happens To Untreated Nighttime Incontinence?

What Happens To Untreated Nighttime Incontinence?

If you opt to leave your problem of nighttime incontinence untreated, you have to deal with various complications, which include the following-

  • Urine incontinence may increase your risk related to repeated urinary tract infections
  • Development of sores, rashes, and other skin infections because of continuous wet skin(1)

Progression Of The Problem

When you leave your problem of nighttime incontinence untreated, your problem progresses in the following way-

Urge Incontinence Or Urgency

Urgency refers to the development of overpowering requirements to pass the urine. Urgency involves anything whether it is only a few drops of urine leakage or soaking of urine completely. You may precipitate your urgency feeling based on certain factors, which include-

  • Staying in cold weather
  • Washing of hands
  • Running of water

The time, for which an individual may hold on his/her urine for acts as a good indicator of the severity level associated with the individual’s incontinence. In addition, the mentioned factor gives a rough idea about the ability of an individual to hold his/her urination ability. Urgency also accompanies the increase in the urinary frequency and urination at night i.e. nocturia. The primary cause of the urge to urinate in old people is because of their overactive bladder muscles combined with uninhibited contractions of the bladder.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence mainly takes place whenever there is any incontinence related to sneezing, coughing, and exertion. The underlying mechanism related to stress incontinence is because of an increase in the abdominal pressure.

Mixed Incontinence

Mixed incontinence refers to a combination of urge and stress incontinence. However, the major cause behind this problem is still under research.

Functional Incontinence

In the case of functional incontinence, a mental or physical impairment of a person prevents him/her to go to the toilet within time. For instance, if you suffer from a severe form of arthritis, you may fail to unbutton the pants quickly.

Detrusor Underactivity Or Incontinence

Detrusor Underactivity type of incontinence is often uncommon among young individuals and takes place in only 5 to 10 percent of old people. Common causes related to this type of incontinence are-

  • Detrusor muscle fibrosis secondary towards the obstruction of chronic outflow i.e. scar of the bladder muscle because of prolonged damage.
  • Peripheral neuropathy, which often takes place because of vitamin B12 deficiency and diabetes mellitus and so on.
  • Damages caused to the spinal efferent nerves i.e. the ones responsible to supply to detrusor muscle.

Overflow Incontinence

Overflow urine incontinence mainly takes place because of the obstruction in the urine flow or reduction in the empty of the urinary bladder. Major features of this problem are the elevation of after void volume of urine, hesitancy to initiate the urinary stream, poor urinary stream, intermittency, dribbling, and nocturia. In addition, the problem has a close association with stress urine leakage.(2)

When To Go To Doctor For Nighttime Incontinence?

In most of the cases, people feel uncomfortable while discussing the problem of urine incontinence with a doctor. However, if you experience frequent urine incontinence or the problem is affecting your daily life, you should make sure to take medical advice.

Especially, you should never delay your appointment with a doctor if you experience specific symptoms related to the problem. These are minor and occasional urine leaks, especially during nighttime. Alternatively, a few individuals experience frequent loss of urine in moderate amounts during the entire day.

Other than this, urine incontinence sometimes-

  • Indicates a severe type of underlying condition
  • Forces you to stay away from your daily activities and/or limit the regular social interactions(1)


To conclude, we should say that nighttime incontinence is a major problem, which an individual should never take as granted. Instead, patients should consult their doctors immediately.


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2020

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