Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the main causes of acute and reversible urinary incontinence?


Because of the severe physical, psychological, social, and economic costs of urinary incontinence, it is important to identify reversible cases and render the needed treatment. The causes of acute and reversible forms of urinary incontinence can be remembered by the DRIP mnemonic:
D- Delirium
R- Restricted mobility, retention
I- Infection, inflammation, impaction (fecal)
P- Polyuria, pharmaceuticals

Infection and inflammation refer to acute symptomatic urinary tract infection (UTI), atrophic vaginitis, and urethritis. Polyuria may be due to hyperglycemia or volume-expanded states causing excessive nocturia (e.g., CHF, venous insufficiency).

Reference: Kane RL, et al: Essentials of Clinical Geriatrics, 5th ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2004.

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