Smoking and Incontinence

Man smoking a cigarette

Smoking may lead to bladder leakage.

Current and previous cigarette smokers are at an increased risk of experiencing stress urinary incontinence (SUI), bladder cancer, and other major health problems.  Cigarette smoking causes chronic coughing. A constant cough can damage the muscles of the pelvic floor. When these muscles are damaged, this can cause urine to leak due to a loss of stability and strength of the pelvic floor. Smoking is also known to be a bladder irritant, which could cause overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms.

Never smoking and stopping smoking are the best ways to prevent urinary incontinence, or bladder leakage associated with smoking.

Treatment and Management Options
While previous smokers are at a higher risk of experiencing urinary incontinence, quitting smoking now may reduce your future risk or severity.  Work with your healthcare provider on ways to quit smoking.

Please read our information about stress urinary incontinence for more treatment and management options.

Medical Reviewer: Tamara Dickinson, RN, CURN, CCCN, BCIA-PMDB

Tamara Dickinson

Ms. Tamara Dickinson, RN, CURN, CCCN, BCIA-PMDB

Ms. Dickinson is a nationally and internationally recognized authority in urodynamics, incontinence, voiding dysfunction, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Ms. Dickinson is board certified in urology nursing and continence nursing and is certified in biofeedback for pelvic muscle dysfunction.  With over 15 years in the field, Ms. Dickinson is experienced in pelvic floor therapy including biofeedback and neurogenic voiding dysfunction, as well as other pelvic floor and continence therapies such as sacral neuromodulation and pessaries. She is a frequent national presenter on these topics. Ms. Dickinson is the Senior Research Nurse in Continence and Voiding Dysfunction in the Department of Urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas , TX.  She is the Immediate Past President of the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA), a professional organization committed to excellence in clinical practice and research through education of its members, patients, family and community. She is also a member of the Continence Promotion Committee and the School of Urodynamics of the International Continence Society.  Ms. Dickinson is a recipient of the SUNA President’s Trophy for outstanding contributions to the association. She also received the Past President’s Lectureship Award at the 2006 SUNA Annual Conference.

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