Does Diabetes Cause Incontinence?

There is a known connection between diabetes and incontinence. One recent study in Norway found that incontinence affected 39 percent of women with diabetes and only 26 percent of women without diabetes.

Current estimates suggest that roughly 15 million Americans experience urinary incontinence — the involuntary loss of urine — and that up to 85% of those affected are women. And the risk of developing incontinence increases as a person ages.

Incontinence can have an enormous effect on a person's quality of life, including their emotional well-being and ability to carry out daily activities.

The exact link between diabetes and incontinence is unknown.

The four possible ways that diabetes can contribute to incontinence are:

  • obesity is a key factor in people developing Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes and it is also a major risk factor for developing incontinence. Excessive weight puts pressure and strain on the pelvic muscles, weakening them.  Weak pelvic floor muscles do not properly support the bladder and bowel leading to incontinence
  • nerve damage may be caused by poorly controlled or long-term diabetes. This nerve damage can affect the nerves that control the bowel and the bladder, resulting in incontinence
  • compromised immune system caused by diabetes can result in increased infections and a higer risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs), which, in turn, can cause incontinence
  • diabetes medications used to control Type 2 diabetes may cause loose bowel actions (diarrhea).
  • high blood sugar levels seen with diabetes can cause you to be thirsty and, thus, urinate more

The most important thing you can do to begin treating incontinence is to talk to your doctor or other medical professional. While it may be difficult to discuss this sensitive subject with your doctor, addressing the issue with him or her may lead to effective ways to manage incontinence.


Keeping your diabetes well-controlled is the best way to prevent nerve damage or further damage happening

  • Eat well: a healthy diet rich in dietary fiber to avoid constipation
  • Drink well: 1.5 – 2 liters of fluid each day helps prevent bladder irritation and constipation
  • Exercise regularly: Keep moving. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes most days. Remember that walking is great exercise.
  • Practice good toilet habits: Go to the toilet when your bladder feels full or when you get the urge for a bowel movement.

Rely Medical Supply offers a wide range of high quality incontinence products to help meet your needs. For a FREE consultation with one of our Product Experts, call Rely Medical Supply today toll-free at 1-888-529-2308. Our phones are answered Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Central Standard Time. Our helpful and compassionate product experts are trained to help you select the right products for your personal needs.