What Causes Bladder Leakage?

Overactive Bladder

What Causes Bladder Leakage & How Can You Take Control?


Your bladder can be one of the most annoying things in life – you never know when it’s going to give out and let you down.  Whether you’re dealing with embarrassing leaks when you sneeze or rushing to the bathroom every five minutes, bladder issues can be incredibly frustrating. But don’t worry – there are solutions!

But what causes bladder leakage in the first place?  In this blog post, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the most common causes of bladder leakage and how to take steps to resolve it.  So if you’re ready to say goodbye to embarrassing leaks and hello to better bladder health, read on! 

What is Bladder Leakage?


Bladder leakage, also known as urinary incontinence, is when you experience an involuntary loss of urine.  This can range from small dribbles when you’re laughing or coughing to a full-blown episode where you lose control of your bladder and have an accident. 


You may also experience frequent urination or an urgent need to go even when your bladder is not full.  The urgency to go can be so strong that you don’t have time to get to the bathroom before your bladder releases. It’s important to note that though this is a normal occurrence, it doesn’t have to be something you live with. 

Common Causes of Bladder Leakage 


There are many possible causes of bladder leakage, some more common than others. Here is a list of the most common contributors:

Pregnancy and childbirth:


Pregnancy is not only a beautiful experience but also one that can have long-lasting effects on your body. The hormonal changes, increased pressure, and stretching of the pelvic floor muscles that come with carrying a child can cause urinary incontinence. This is often temporary but can become long-term in some cases. 


Giving birth can also affect the pelvic floor muscles, which control urine flow out of the bladder.  These muscles can become weakened or torn during delivery and cause incontinence.


Pelvic floor muscle weakness and dysfunction:


Your pelvic floor muscles are responsible for the correct functioning of your bladder. These muscles work together to control the flow of urine from your bladder. If these muscles become weakened or overactive, it can lead to various bladder issues, including incontinence. This can be caused by various factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, heavy lifting, or poor posture.

The pelvic floor muscles can also become weakened due to age and inactivity.  This is especially common in post-menopausal women. Some people may experience a combination of weak and overactive pelvic floor muscles, which can cause various bladder issues. 


Menopause is a common contributor:


Menopause is a normal part of life for women and can also be one of the leading causes of bladder leakage. This is because hormone levels decrease during this time, which can cause changes in the function and elasticity of pelvic floor muscles. This leads to weakened muscles that are more prone to leaking urine. 

You may also experience a decrease in the amount of urine your bladder can hold. This is because estrogen and progesterone are important for maintaining healthy urethral tissue; when these levels drop, so does the elasticity of the urinary muscles.  


Stress and anxiety play a role:


Stress and anxiety can have a profound effect on your bladder health. When you’re stressed or anxious, your body releases hormones that increase blood flow to the muscles in your pelvic floor. This can cause those muscles to become hyperactive and lead to bladder leakage. 


Additionally, when we experience stress, our bodies tend to tense up, which can cause the pelvic floor muscles to tighten. This can also lead to urinary incontinence as your bladder cannot empty properly due to the constriction of the muscles. 

Diet can also contribute to Bladder Leakage:


Your diet plays an important role in bladder health, as certain foods and drinks can irritate the bladder and lead to leakage.  Foods like spicy foods, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and acidic foods can cause inflammation of the urinary tract, which can then increase your risk of experiencing bladder leakage. 


It’s a good idea to keep an eye on what you eat, which could contribute to your incontinence. 

Diagnosing Bladder Leakage


If you’re experiencing bladder leakage, it’s important to get a diagnosis to determine the best treatment.  


A pelvic floor physical therapist is particularly well-suited to investigating this problem as they are trained and experienced in dealing with issues related to the pelvic floor. They can help you identify the root cause of your bladder leakage and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. 

Taking Steps to Resolve Bladder Leakage


Once you’ve identified the underlying causes of your bladder leakage, there are steps you can take to help resolve it.   


Exercise & eating a healthy diet: 


Regular exercise and a healthy diet are key aspects of maintaining bladder health. Exercise helps strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor and can help to reduce incontinence. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can also help keep your bladder healthy, as certain foods can be irritating for this area. 

Practicing mindfulness exercises: 


Mindfulness exercises are a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, which can help to improve bladder health. Taking the time to focus on your breath and be present in the moment can be extremely beneficial for relieving incontinence symptoms. 


Kegel exercises are also beneficial for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which can help to reduce the symptoms of bladder leakage. The key is to ensure you’re doing the exercises correctly, so it can be helpful to have a professional teach you how to do them properly. 


Reducing or eliminating caffeine, sugar & alcohol: 


Reducing or eliminating caffeine, sugar, and alcohol from your diet can also help to reduce bladder leakage. These substances are known to irritate the bladder muscles, so it’s best to avoid them if possible.  You can also try drinking more water, as this can help to flush out irritants from your bladder and keep it healthy. 


Enrolling in bladder essentials: 


If you’re serious about resolving your bladder leakage issues, consider enrolling in a program such as Bladder Essentials. This online program provides you with the tools, resources, and support you need to regain control over your bladder health.  You’ll learn tips and techniques to help you manage your symptoms and exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. 




Nobody likes talking about bladder leakage, but understanding what causes it can help seek solutions. Although embarrassing, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker when it comes to living life to the fullest. With help from a pelvic floor physical therapist, lifestyle modifications, and a few other helpful strategies, you can take control of your condition and reduce bladder leakage. 


Don’t let the stigma keep you from seeking the help you need! Making small changes to address bladder leakage can significantly improve your quality of life.






Dr. Nikki Cohen
Pelvic Floor Therapist in San Diego,
Services in English
Address: San Diego, California
92115 United States
Phone: +1 (818) 606-6717
Email: [email protected]