Incontinence Concerns For Seniors

Urinary incontinence occurs when the muscles within and surrounding the bladder do not function normally. As a result, urine leaks, the condition we know as urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence does not just affect women. It also affects men.

You may be shocked if you Google the stats of how many people are affected in your country! You may find that one in four, or even one in three, people suffer from being incontinent.

It is a serious concern for seniors who are not near a bathroom. After all, they can’t run to the bathroom as quickly as they once did, and accidents would be highly embarrassing.

incontinence concerns for seniors

Factors That Trigger Urinary Incontinence In Women

Factors That Trigger Urinary Incontinence In Men

  • Damage or injury to the nerves from surgery.
  • Prostatitis – a condition caused by inflammation in the prostate gland.
  • Swelling of the prostate gland, leading to benign prostate hyperplasia.

Various Types of Urinary Incontinence

elderly man sitting suffering with incontinence

Functional incontinence: This type of urinary incontinence happens due to difficulty getting to the toilet in time or when seniors cannot move properly. Functional incontinence happens to many seniors even if they still have standard bladder control.

Overflow incontinence: This type of incontinence is often due to spinal cord injuries or diabetes. When a person has difficulty emptying their bladder due to an enlarged prostate that blocks the urethra, urine can leak.

Stress incontinence: The most widespread type of bladder control problem is stress incontinence. It happens when pressure is applied to the bladder during intense exercise or when lifting heavy objects, sneezing, coughing, or laughing. This is also common among younger women.

Urge incontinence: This form of incontinence can happen to anyone! It happens when people get the sudden urge to urinate but cannot control their bladder long enough to get to the bathroom. This condition is common among people with Alzheimer’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or even those who have suffered a stroke.

Urinary Incontinence Treatments

Urinary incontinence can be very distressing, but fortunately, there are treatments to help manage this embarrassing problem. As there are different types of urinary incontinence issues, the type of treatment also varies. Also, products available, such as disposable underwear and napkins, could be helpful.

Bladder control training: Doing pelvic floor exercises or kegel exercises may help strengthen the muscles supporting the bladder. Urgency suppression strategies which entail distracting yourself from holding off and keeping your mind from focusing too much on the need to urinate can also help. Scheduling urination time can also be effective in controlling the bladder. With this type of training, practice makes perfect!

Medical treatments: In some cases, urinary incontinence may necessitate medical devices such as a catheter or vaginal pessary ring, which may help with stress incontinence. In severe cases, your healthcare provider may advise electrical nerve stimulation, biofeedback, and surgery.

Lifestyle changes: Behavioral changes may be applied to manage bladder issues. In some cases, quitting smoking, losing weight, avoiding alcoholic drinks and caffeinated beverages, and drinking water can help ease this condition.

Bowel incontinence: Bowel incontinence or fecal incontinence is the involuntary release of either solid or liquid feces. Men and women are equally affected by bowel incontinence, which can be a distressing problem for seniors.

Various Forms of Fecal Incontinence

Urge incontinence: This condition happens due to an uncontrollable urge to defecate and an inability to get to the bathroom on time. Urge incontinence is common in people with weakness in the external anal sphincter.

Passive incontinence: Also known as stress incontinence, this condition happens to people with weakness in the internal anal sphincter. This type of fecal leakage occurs when either sneezing or coughing.

Overflow incontinence: This type of fecal leakage happens when fecal liquid builds up behind an obstructing stool. This usually occurs when constipation is an issue.

Treatment For Bowel Incontinence

Minor cases of incontinence can be managed at home by eating a healthier diet, doing pelvic floor exercises, and scheduling toilet trips. In more severe cases, bowel incontinence can be treated with prescription medicines, biofeedback training, and surgery.

If you are a family member of someone suffering from incontinence, providing support and seeking thorough care can help ease further complications and problems, and also their embarrassment.

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