A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing a condition or disease. For example, being obese raises the risk of developing diabetes type 2; therefore, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes type 2. Below are some risk factors linked to urinary incontinence:
Being obese - obese people have increased pressure on their bladder and surrounding muscles, compared to people of normal weight. This weakens the muscles and makes it more likely that a leak occurs when the person sneezes or coughs.
Smoking - regular smokers are more likely to develop a chronic cough, which may result in episodes of incontinence. A chronic cough (coughing a lot over the long term) places undue stress on the urinary sphincter, leading to stress incontinence. A regular smoker is also more susceptible to having an overactive bladder.
Gender - women have a significantly higher chance of experiencing stress incontinence than men. Certain aspects of a female's life, such as childbirth and menopause make incontinence more likely. A man's risk is higher if he has prostate gland problems.
Old age - the muscles in the bladder and urethra weaken during old age. This means the bladder cannot hold as much liquid as before, raising the risk of involuntary leakage. This does not mean that people will necessarily become incontinent when they are old; it just means the risk is higher.
Some diseases and conditions - people with diabetes and some kidney diseases are more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence.
Coffee (caffeine) - men who drink approximately two cups of coffee each day are much more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence than males of the same age who drink less or no coffee at all, researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham wrote in The Journal of Urology (January 2nd, 2013 issue).