These Jobs Could Lead to Urinary Incontinence

Construction worker lifting heavy object

Key Takeaways:

  • Jobs in the healthcare, construction, security, childcare, and transportation industries can lead to loss of bladder control.
  • Signs of urinary incontinence at high-risk jobs may include dehydration, frequent bathroom trips, or taking sick time due to urinary concerns.
  • Having conversations around urinary health, using workplace modifications, and ensuring safety measures can help employees prioritize their urinary health.

Urinary incontinence can affect anyone, but if you’re in a field that demands physical labor, exposure to environmental toxins, or prolonged shifts, you may be more prone to developing the condition.

In this blog, we’ll explain how certain jobs can cause urinary incontinence and how employees and supervisors can be proactive and prioritize urinary health in the workplace.

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Jump To:

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Jobs That Can Lead to Urinary Incontinence

Signs of Urinary Incontinence

Is Job-Related Urinary Incontinence Treatable?

Lowering Your Risk of Developing Urinary Incontinence at Work

How to Get Insurance-Covered Bladder Control Supplies for Work

Prioritizing Urinary Health in the Workplace

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What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence (UI) is a loss of bladder control that often results in urinary leakage. Other symptoms can accompany UI, including:

  • Feeling the urge to pee more often than usual or using the bathroom more often than usual.
  • Feeling the sudden and intense urge to urinate, leading to leakage (urge incontinence).
  • Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, bending over, or lifting heavy objects (stress incontinence).

UI is diagnosed by a healthcare provider or specialist, such as a urologist or pelvic floor therapist. If you have symptoms of UI, see a provider to be diagnosed appropriately to take the proper steps to manage your leakage.

Jobs That Can Lead to Urinary Incontinence

Some jobs may lead to the development of UI for a multitude of reasons. Increased abdominal pressure on your pelvic floor, fatigue of the pelvic floor muscles after repetitive injury / trauma, exposure to toxins / chemicals, and prolonged time between emptying your bladder can all lead to UI.

Jobs That Demand Your Presence

Jobs that demand your presence or that don’t allow for easy access to a bathroom can commonly lead to UI due to holding urine for too long, leading to leakage and other issues. Jobs like these include:

  • Medical providers, surgeons, nurses, or first responders.
  • Teachers
  • Childcare workers.
  • Security personnel.
  • Truck drivers.

Jobs That Require Heavy Lifting

If you work in a field that requires heavy lifting, you may have more frequent bathroom breaks and may not need to hold your urine for prolonged periods, but you do need to lift heavy objects (100 lbs or more) regularly.

Lifting these objects places extra pressure on the abdomen area, which adds pressure to the pelvis and pelvic organs, which can lead to UI. These types of jobs include:

  • Carpenters
  • Heavy equipment mechanics.
  • Movers

Jobs That Require Prolonged Standing

Similar to heavy lifting careers, if you’re in a job that requires standing for long periods, your abdominal pressure is increased, adding extra pressure to the pelvis and pelvic organs, leading to UI. Jobs include:

  • Servers or other restaurant staff.
  • Assembly line workers.
  • Retail workers.
  • Medical providers (surgeons, nurses, etc.).

Jobs That Cause Whole-Body Vibration

If you are exposed to whole-body vibration at your job, you may develop UI. These vibrations cause potential damage to the pelvic floor muscles and nerves. Jobs include:

  • Truck drivers.
  • Heavy equipment operators.
  • Machinery operators.

Jobs With Toxin Exposure

Jobs that require you to be exposed to toxins may cause UI. Chemicals, irritants, and toxins can cause lower urinary tract changes and irritation, which can cause you to develop UI. These types of jobs include:

  • Hairdressers
  • Janitorial / sanitary workers.
  • Healthcare workers.
  • Manufacturers.
  • Agriculture workers.
  • Construction workers.
  • Mechanics / automotive workers. 
Childcare worker in classroom teaching childrenChildcare worker in classroom teaching children

Jobs With High-Impact Activities

Certain high-impact or high-intensity activities, such as running, jumping, or heavy weightlifting, can strain your pelvic floor muscles and exacerbate UI symptoms, especially if you have underlying pelvic floor weakness or dysfunction. Jobs include:

  • Professional athletes.
  • Sports coaches.
  • Professional weightlifters.

Signs of Urinary Incontinence

It may be difficult for supervisors at high-risk jobs to spot developing or existing UI because most of the time, people feel too ashamed to disclose when they’re having urinary concerns.

Implementing policies and procedures ahead of time is essential for preventative-focused urinary health and management.

While it may be challenging to identify, some symptoms of UI in employees may include dehydration, increased thirst, needing to change clothes, rushing to the restroom, and employees taking sick time for UI symptoms / urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Is Job-Related Urinary Incontinence Treatable?

Absolutely! If caught early, UI can be easily reversed with biofeedback and bladder training treatments. However, if UI is not recognized until later, these simple treatments may not be as reversible, and modifications may need to be made. 

Management and workplace teams should be contacted immediately if an employee is willing to share that they’ve been diagnosed with UI to prevent other employees from facing the same condition.

If you already have UI, you may qualify to receive free bladder control supplies, like male or female bladder control pads, adult pull-ons, and more through your insurance plan. Fill out Aeroflow Urology's simple form to get started!

Lowering Your Risk of Developing Urinary Incontinence at Work

Use these tips to lower your risk of developing UI at a high-risk job.

  • Stay hydrated and take restroom breaks as often as you can when needed.
  • Communicate with your coworkers to plan bathroom breaks to optimize bladder function and overall urinary health.
  • Speak with your supervisors about using ergonomic workstations (elevated desks, walking / treadmill pads, proper lifting equipment, etc.).
  • Ensure proper safety measures are taken to decrease your chances of straining your pelvic floor muscles.
Nurse caring for a patient at the hospitalNurse caring for a patient at the hospital

This may require speaking with your supervisors about the following:

  • Policies on heavy lifting restrictions.
  • Regular breaks and rest periods.
  • Time management for breaks.
  • Access to water.
  • Toxin exposure limitations or proper safety equipment.

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Prioritizing Urinary Health in the Workplace

Because we live in a capitalist society where resources are scarce and modifications cost money, one misconception is that management doesn’t care whether their employees develop UI. Since money continues to be the center of our universe, it will likely take many employees at high-risk jobs to be brave enough to engage in conversations about prioritizing their urinary health before any significant changes occur in the workplace. 


Aleece Fosnight

Aleece Fosnight, MSPAS, PA-C, CSC-S, CSE, NCMP, IF, HAES is a Medical Advisor and Writer for Aeroflow Urology and a board-certified physician assistant specializing in sexual medicine, women’s health, and urology. In 2019, she opened up her own private practice, the Fosnight Center for Sexual Health, and implemented the sexual health grand rounds curriculum at her local hospital and residency program.

Aleece is also the founder of the Fosnight Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and training of professionals in the sexual health field and providing funding for access to healthcare services in her local community.


About the Author

Marlee Septak is the Senior Content Specialist at Aeroflow Urology. She brings a deep understanding of incontinence and health conditions associated with it to her writing. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago and holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. Marlee has contributed to various magazines and blogs, including Borgen Magazine, Echo Magazine, Chicago Ideas Week, Assuaged, and Peaceful Dumpling. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and just sitting down with a good book.


Disclaimer

Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or care from a healthcare professional. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.

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