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Involuntary urination as a normal response

  1. Aug 1, 2012 #1
    Other than the obvious case of the (real or perceived) pressure of a full bladder eventually becoming unbearable, under what conditions do healthy people, i.e. those who do not ordinarily suffer from incontinence, lose bladder control?

    I know of two - extreme fear and choking/strangling. In the latter, I'm not sure if there is a direct connection, or if it is simply the cause for a more general loss of muscle control due to the onset of unconsciousness. How and why is urination triggered, in those cases? Are they connected?

    What other scenarios are there, if any?

    I spent some time on wikipedia but couldn't find anything directly applicable. The article on urinary incontinence doesn't really address either case. For a while, I thought that cataplexy ("a sudden and transient episode of loss of muscle tone, often triggered by emotions [or stress]") might be what I was looking for, but the article talks about it only as a pathological condition, as far as I could tell.

    TIA! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2012 #2
    An injury to the lower spine could cause a loss of bowel control, but that would not meet your criteria of "healthy". A stress response can also trigger a loss of urine control. This does not have to be something extreme, but it is not not uncommon for people under constant stress to exhibit problems with their bladder. IBS is an example of a stress response (assuming the person does not have interstitial cystitis - an infection inside the bladder wall).
  4. Aug 2, 2012 #3


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    Well, I'm going to put it out there, just for you. This is to go no farther than your eyes.
    (And, of course, whatever hundred of thousands of whos that happen to read this.)
    I have to wear a diaper when I leave the house (which is one reason that I pretty much never leave the house). My condition is terminal COPD. Just over a year ago, I actually died of it. Than was an unacceptable situation for me, though, so I got over it after a couple of minutes. Spent the next 4 days in a coma, the following 2 1/2 weeks semi-conscious with a machine breathing for me, and then another week in the pulmonary care ICU on oxygen. I can get around with my walker now that I'm out of the hospital, but it's seldom worth the effort. (I can navigate the main floor of my house with just a cane, or sometimes without it. My cat owns the 4 bedrooms on the 2nd floor because I can't climb the stairs.)
    The first thing to go when your pulse-ox drops below 80 is bowel control. Bladder control is probably right up there with it in normal people, but I'm always dehydrated so it doesn't apply to me. I can still walk in a flaky manner, but can't get to a bathroom on time. That doesn't happen at home, but I make damned sure that I've taken care of business before I go out, drop a couple of Immodiums as insurance, and never eat anything out unless I have a guaranteed ride home in short order.
    All of the above was just to let you know that I understand the situation, whatever might cause it.
    The postulation that I read about 45 years ago, which makes sense to me, is that it's a Darwinian response to trauma. People who die, especially in a violent manner such as hanging, void their bowels and bladders, and males frequently ejaculate. That would tend to make one less than tasty to the critter that did the killing, and so eventually that species would stop trying to eat us.
  5. Aug 2, 2012 #4
    look up stress incontinence. cataplexy narcoplexy you lose skeletal muscle due to somatic nervous system, not Autonomic. You do lose ANS during seizures and urinate during seizures
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