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Do You Have Latchkey Incontinence?

Latchkey Incontinence

A sensation of urgency to urinate when you unlock the door of your house may make you wonder, do you have latchkey incontinence?

Perhaps you are unable to control your urine flow after turning the key in your door, and urinate on the way involuntarily.

According to a study of 1,800 individuals, about 26% had latchkey incontinence — and 52% suffered from latchkey urgency1.

This blog will walk you through what latchkey incontinence is, how to confirm you have it, and how to address this concern as well. 

What Is Latchkey Incontinence?

It is a kind of urge continence, causing an intense need to urinate as you turn a key in a lock. In some cases, the urine may even leak before you reach the toilet. 

You may have sudden urges to urinate when your bladder sends a message to the brain. This can happen even if it’s not full. The bladder muscles start contracting, increasing the need to pee. Moreover, if your bladder control is already poor, the likelihood of having latchkey incontinence is even greater.

Causes of Latchkey Incontinence

If you wonder what causes frequent urination in women, know that increasing age, menopause, or pregnancy are typically the primary causes. On the other hand, male incontinence may be due to prostatectomy – surgical removal of the prostate gland, among other reasons. 

You may also be experiencing latchkey incontinence due to an overactive bladder (OAB). 

There are multiple other common answers for what causes frequent urination in men and women when turning a key in a lock.

  • Nerve damage: This may be a reason why your brain cannot send a message to the bladder. This factor is more common in patients suffering from stroke, multiple sclerosis, or other conditions.
  • Bladder irritation: This occurs as a result of urinary infections. Bladder irritation increases the urgent need to urinate, and might also cause dribbling after urination.
  • Constipation: It leads to a high amount of urine getting concentrated in the bladder, or the bowel pressing over the bladder. In both cases, the need to urinate is bound to intensify significantly. This, in turn, can cause bladder irritation.

Tip: Consume fiber-rich food to reduce the occurrence of constipation.

  • Functional incontinence: It refers to the inability to reach the toilet due to physical or mental limitations. If you are already suffering from functional incontinence, the chances of having latchkey incontinence will automatically increase. The same goes for the presence of other types of incontinence.


How to know if you have latchkey incontinence

How To Know You Have Latchkey Incontinence

Diagnosis is the best option if you want to know what causes frequent urination, or whether you have latchkey incontinence.

Consult your doctor and mention all the ongoing symptoms. Additionally, make sure to talk about your medical history in detail, including medical conditions not related to the bladder. The physician can diagnose whether you have latchkey incontinence after conducting a thorough assessment. Some tests they may run include:

  • Urinalysis – urine test
  • Bladder diary – measurement of daily urine excretion
  • Post-void residual measurement – measuring the amount of urine left after urinating

What Happens If Incontinence Is Left Untreated?

According to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, over 33% of women suffer from urinary incontinence. However, only half of them have pursued medical attention for this2.

If you leave incontinence untreated, the condition can worsen.

  • If the latchkey incontinence is due to an underlying infection, the infection may spread
  • It can cause depression or other mental health disorders3
  • It can cause a rapid drop in overall health4

How To Address Latchkey Incontinence Issues

Latchkey incontinence, how to address it

Though there is no medically proven cure, the good news is, there are ways you can address latchkey incontinence that may alleviate it to a degree:

  • Empty the bladder frequently
  • Try to control the urge to urinate
  • Go through a different door
  • Distract yourself as soon as you enter the house
  • Knowingly empty your bladder before unlatching the door

Though the mental aspects of latchkey incontinence may be tough to deal with, there are absorbent incontinence products that are designed to ensure that even if you do have an accident, the urine gets soaked up fully and does not leak out onto your clothing. Here are some of the best products on the market to address this issue:

1. Abena Incontinence Pads for Women

If you want to live a more carefree life, these pads are ideal for light absorbency and maintaining complete discretion. Additionally, the Abena pad’s unique TopDry system ensures prolonged comfort.

2. Caroli Men’s Incontinence Guards

These are highly absorbent pads designed specially for male incontinence. With these Caroli Men’s pads, you can experience long lasting comfort, as they provide up to 24 ounces of absorption.

3. Tranquility Select Unisex Incontinence Pad

It is a lightly absorbent unisex pad to provide dryness throughout the day. The Tranquility Select pad is uniquely shaped with delicate elastics, forming a cup to prevent leakage.

4. TENA Dry Comfort Protective Unisex Pull Up Underwear

If you have moderate incontinence, the TENA Dry pull-up underwear is one of the most comfortable options. These underpants offer advanced leakage protection, while their pull-up and tear-away qualities ensure ease of use.

Doctor diagnoses latchkey incontinence


Why can I not hold my pee?

Urinary incontinence happens when the muscle (sphincter) that closes your bladder's outlet is not strong enough to keep back the pee. This may happen if the sphincter is too weak, the bladder muscles contract too forcefully, or the bladder is excessively full.

Why do I start to pee before I sit on the toilet?

It's possible you are dealing with urge incontinence, which occurs when a person feels an urgent need to pee and leaks urine before reaching the toilet. This is a disorder associated with hyperactive bladder in which the bladder muscle starts to squeeze too soon.

Why do some women lose their ability to hold their urine very suddenly?

In most cases, urinary incontinence is caused by issues with the muscles and nerves that assist the bladder with retaining or releasing urine. Certain women's health events, such as pregnancy, delivery, and menopause may create issues with these muscles and nerves. Urinary incontinence may also be caused by becoming overweight.

How many Kegels should a woman do per day?

Doing at least 3 sets of 15 repetitions should be optimal for strengthening your vaginal muscles, which can provide many physical benefits.


  1. Environmental cues to urgency and incontinence episodes in Chinese patients with overactive urinary bladder syndrome. Biomedical Research 2015; 26 (2): 361-364
  2. Bridging the Gap: Determinants of Undiagnosed or Untreated Urinary Incontinence in Women, 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.08.072
  3. Depression and Incontinence – National Association for Continence
  4. The Impact of Urinary Incontinence on Older Adults and Their Caregivers – Journal of Aging Life Care

Disclaimer: The information presented here is purely for educational purposes and should not be used in place of the advice of your doctor or physician.