After a stroke, you may develop incontinence. This happens when muscles that control urine and stool are weakened. Unconscious leaking is the most common symptom, but you may have other types of bladder Incontinence is poor control of your bladder or bowel.

After a stroke, physical changes, as well as communication and vision changes, can lead to incontinence. Changes to your thinking, memory, and judgement can also lead to incontinence.

Nerves in the spinal cord send messages from the brain to the bladder. Sphincter muscles control the flow of urine. Muscles in the rectum and anus control or release stool. These nerve and muscle processes allow urine and feces to be removed when you want them to. These pathways can be impacted when a stroke occurs. 

How can stroke or other neurological diseases cause frequent urination?

Damage to nerves that supply the bladder can lead to problems with bladder function, including frequent and sudden urges to urinate.

Incontinence can be caused by a number of changes after a stroke such as:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Changed sensation or feeling
  • Difficulty putting off going to the toilet when the urge is felt
  • Difficulty dressing and undressing
  • Difficulty getting to the toilet
  • Changes in eating and drinking habits that affect your digestion
  • Changes to communication and thinking skills
  • Changes to vision
  • Difficulty with bladder (or bowel) control can be prevented, treated, better managed or cured. If left untreated, problems may become worse or can cause other problems.

The first step to helping regain bladder control is a full continence assessment by the health professionals working with the person being cared for.

What can be done?

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid bladder irritants.
  • Exercise
  • Don’t put off going to the toilet
  • Continence products 
  • Equipment that can help (portable urinal). 

strokes and incontinence