Latchkey Incontinence

The term “latchkey incontinence” is often used to describe a person’s constant and urgent need to urinate the moment they get home. Although the term is popular, it is not generally used in medical terminology.

A person with latchkey incontinence is most likely experiencing symptoms of an overactive bladder or OAB. Overactive bladder is a combination of symptoms that causes frequent urination, uncontrollable urination or nocturia (waking up to urinate more than two times at night).

With OAB, the urge to urinate may intensify with certain triggers such as inserting the key in the door, opening the garage door, or any behaviors that indicate to the brain that you are getting closer to home.  Over time, if this pattern continues, the brain will associate these behaviors or cues with the need to urinate and trigger the urge to go whether the bladder is full or not.  Other OAB triggers may include having the urgent need to urinate when hearing running water or while washing your hands.

OAB typically develops as a result of conditions or injuries that affect the detrusor muscle in the bladder. These conditions or injuries may include:

  • Nerve damage caused by diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Hormonal changes such as menopause
  • Obesity

It is important to seek treatment for OAB because it will not go away on its own and symptoms may become more severe. Treatment may include behavioral interventions or changes such as scheduling bathroom trips, pelvic floor exercises, or bladder training. These therapies may be followed by medication, nerve stimulation, or potentially surgery if symptoms persist.

If you are experiencing symptoms of OAB, please call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment with a urologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.