Research has shown a strong relationship between smoking and incontinence for both current and former smokers. Smoking can lead to incontinence in the following three ways:
- Chronic cough puts pressure on the bladder – smokers tend to develop a chronic cough that overtime can weaken and damage the bladder muscles and cause urinary leakage. Additionally, smoking damages small blood vessels in the body and causes tissue weakness.
- Smoking is a bladder irritant – smoking can cause more frequent and urgent urination, which can cause symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB).
- Smoking can cause bladder cancer – we know that smoking can cause major health issues like lung cancer, but smoking is also the leading risk factor for bladder cancer. Smokers are 4 to 7 times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. Bladder cancer can cause incontinence, or more often, the cancer treatment can result in incontinence.
Whether you are currently dealing with incontinence or not, quitting or reducing smoking can help improve your symptoms or reduce your risk for developing incontinence. If you experience slight leakage when you cough, pads or liners may be the best incontinence product for your needs. If you suffer from heavier leakage, tape-tab style briefs or disposable absorbent underwear are highly absorbent products for hours of protections. If you have any questions regarding your incontinence and the right products for you or a loved one, call our Incontinence Care Specialists at 1-888-656-8055 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. For tips on how to quit smoking, talk to a medical professional about your current habits and the best ways to overcome those habits.