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Is Diabetes and Urinary Incontinence Related?

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Diabetes Mellitus, the condition where the body is resistant to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugars, is a common condition that can lead to many detrimental health issues such as heart disease and stroke. Often, if diabetes is poorly controlled, patients will notice they have more urine, and urinate more frequently. The extra sugar in the blood spills into the urine through the kidneys and draws more water into the urine, increasing urinary volume.

This is a somewhat oversimplified look at diabetes, but diabetes can lead to muscle and nerve deterioration of the pelvic organs as well. This I will discuss further below.

Ask yourself, what can happen if you’re constantly making more urinate and have to void every hour? Well, drip, drip, gush sometimes. Controlling diabetes is one very simple and reversible way to treat urinary incontinence.

The number of people with diabetes is rising worldwide, which itself is contributed by increasing obesity rates and an aging population. As an aside, obesity and aging are themselves correlated to urinary incontinence rates as well. I posted a blog entry not too long ago, that weight reduction by 18 lbs showed a significant reduction in urinary incontinence. Aging, simply put, is unavoidable and many women will experience urinary incontinence, whether stress related (exercise-induced) or urge related (overactive bladder), and often times both together.
Women with urinary incontinence are known to experience social or sexual isolation, whether from friends, lovers, or even self-imposed. This adds to psychosocial stress and diminished quality of life. It is important when evaluating diabetes to include all co-morbid conditions that can be associated with it, when eye, kidney, heart or bladder related.

It is believed that the same damage that diabetes causes to small blood vessels and nerves that leads to poor circulation and numbness, also occurs with the bladder and urethral sphincter. I’m sure most of us have a relative with diabetes with “bad feet”. They can’t feel their toes, or they have bad circulation with foot, pain, or non-healing ulcers.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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