Are Your Medications Increasing Incontinence?

Medications and incontinence

Urinary incontinence may start or worsen with certain types of medications.  Sometimes referred to as drug-induced incontinence, solving the problem may be as easy as changing dosage or medications.

Medications and incontinence

Medications and incontinence

Talk with your healthcare provider if you suspect that something in your medicine cabinet is the source of your incontinence. Here are some medications to look out for according to Harvard Health:

  • Blood pressure medications or alpha-blockers (e.g. Hytrin). These relax bladder muscles and can cause stress incontinence or urine leakage with laughing, standing, coughing and sneezing.
  • Antihistamines like Benadryl. These cause overflow incontinence, the term used when the bladder retains urine.
  • Diuretics, also called water pills (e.g. Esidrix). These increase the volume of urine and can cause stress incontinence as well as overactive bladder or frequent urination.
  • Muscle relaxants and sedatives like Valium or Ativan. These lead to frequent urination and urge incontinence. Also, because of the sedative effect, motivation to get to the toilet may be impacted.
  • Narcotics, such as Percocet. Narcotics can cause overflow incontinence and, like muscle relaxants, a sedative effect that reduces desire to get to the bathroom.


You may be able to switch to a comparable medication with fewer unpleasant side-effects. If there is no option to switch:

  • Make lifestyle changes such as avoiding liquids at least an hour before bed time and/or sex.
  • Try double voiding (urinate then stand and wait a few minutes before trying to urinate again) to be sure your bladder is completely empty.
  • Talk with your doctor about available medical interventions.
  • Do Kegel exercises three times a day to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Find the muscle by interrupting your urine midstream or tightening the muscles that keep you from passing gas. Don’t continue to stop your urine after you have identified the muscle. Doing so may increase your risk of a urinary tract infection. Contract the muscle for a few seconds, release and repeat. You can do Kegels anywhere discreetly so do them regularly for best results.
  • Consider Men’s Liberty. We offer a comfortable, skin-friendly alternative for worry free incontinence management. Our male external catheter keeps you dry 24/7 and is designed to maximize freedom to enjoy your normal activities without fear of accidents.

Certain medication can impact the ability of the bladder to hold or fully expel urine. If you notice symptoms that seem related to your medications keep a journal in advance of your doctor visit. Doing so can help your doctor get a full picture of the patterns and problems with your incontinence. The more information you can share the more useful the feedback you receive will be.