What Causes Incontinence in Teens?

Teenagers may assume that incontinence is a problem only the elderly experience, which can result in embarrassment for those teens who struggle to get to the bathroom in time. Incontinence may lead teenagers to avoid social situations, school or work in a bid to stay close to a bathroom. Your teen should see his doctor to figure out what may be causing his incontinence.


If your teenager is taking medication, it may be causing incontinence as a side effect, according to the Mayo Clinic website 2. Sedatives and muscle relaxants can play a big role in reducing bladder control, though medications for the heart or blood pressure may also impact your teenager's bladder control. If urinary incontinence began around the time your teenager started a new medication, talk to your teen's doctor about switching medications 2.

Health Conditions

Family history is among the top causes for incontinence, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you and your teen's father struggled with bed-wetting or urinary incontinence during the day, your teenager may experience similar problems 2. Chronic health problems, like diabetes, could also play a role. Urinary incontinence is also a common symptom of a urinary tract infection 2. A teenager who has a UTI may experience pain during urination, as well as the frequent urge to use the bathroom, according to child development experts at the Kids Health website.

Alcohol and Caffeine

Diet is another leading culprit of incontinence in teenagers, according to the Mayo Clinic site 2. A teenager who consumes too much caffeine, typically found in sodas, coffee and energy drinks, may be more likely to experience urinary incontinence 2. Alcohol can cause the bladder to become overactive, which may lead to incontinence. Ask your teenager's doctor about any dietary restrictions that may help incontinence. Teenagers may need to reduce the intake of or avoid caffeine and alcohol. Drinking too much of any fluid, even water, can also cause urinary problems.

Other Causes

There may be several other causes behind your teenager's incontinence. A physical problem with the bladder, like a small bladder capacity, may be to blame, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Teenagers may also have an obstruction in the bladder, like bladder stones, according experts at the U.S. National Library of Medicine. A doctor can run tests to rule out possible causes behind a teenager's urinary incontinence 2.