Updated 31 January 2018

Preventing incontinence

There are a number of ways to prevent incontinence such as strengthening the pelvic floor muscles however, other causes of incontinence cannot be prevented.


As incontinence is caused by a number of different factors, the focus should be on preventing the specific cause of incontinence. That being said, it's not possible to avoid all the potential causes of incontinence. It is also important to note that while a number of steps can be taken to avoid incontinence, there is no guarantee that you will not develop the condition.

For urinary incontinence, obesity and smoking make stress incontinence worse and reduce the success rate of surgery. Maintaining a healthy wait and quitting smoking can reduce stress incontinence and may improve the outcomes of surgery. 

Having multiple vaginal deliveries weakens the pelvic floor and can contribute to stress incontinence. The choice between vaginal or caesarian delivery is a personal decision that you should make in consultation with your doctor. 

Regular pelvic floor exercises reduce the incidence of post-partum incontinence. 

Bladder training can be very effective in patients with urgency and frequency, hopefully arresting symptoms before urge incontinence develops.

Nerve damage, muscle damage and a number of other factors that cause faecal incontinence are often unavoidable.

Chronic diarrhoea or constipation can lead to faecal incontinence if not properly managed. If you suffer from either of these conditions, seek proper medical advice and treatment. 

Read more:

What is incontinence?

Causes of incontinence

Treating incontinence

Image: Man covering his crotch with both hands from Shutterstock


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Incontinence Expert

Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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