Urinary incontinence can occur at any age for any number of reasons. Why is it so embarrassing? People often suffer through their incontinence without seeking help as the embarrassment is too great. Whether you are going through this issue or a family member is, no one wants to be incontinent and this may be one of the most important discussions you have with a loved one. At first, they may deny being incontinent and try to hide the fact. Stress the importance of honesty and express your willingness to seek help. Some people experience occasional, minor leaks of urine while others wet their clothes frequently.
Common Symptoms of Incontinence
- leakage after coughing
- sneezing or laughing
- a general uncontrolled leakage of urine.
If you or your loved one’s incontinence is frequent and affecting the quality of life, it’s important that medical advice be sought as it may be indicative of a more serious underlying condition. Incontinence is surprisingly common and it is estimated that 1 in 4 of us will have a problem with bladder control at some time in our lives.
First, let’s dispel some of the myths around incontinence. Urinary incontinence isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom. It can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or physical problems. Incontinence is often seen as a woman’s problem, but that’s not the reality. Although women are more likely than men to have bladder incontinence, men can still encounter this issue. It’s normal to go to the toilet 4 to 7 times a day and pass up to a pint of urine at a time. People with incontinence get the urge to go far more often and pass a lot less urine each time.
The types of urinary incontinence include:
- Stress incontinence
- Urge incontinence
- Overflow incontinence
- Functional incontinence
- Mixed incontinence
Did you know that certain drinks, foods and medications can stimulate your bladder and increase your volume of urine?
- decaffeinated drinks
- artificial sweeteners
- spicy foods
- medications for blood pressure
- sedatives and muscle relaxants
- high doses of vitamins and supplements.
Because the urgency to urinate is so great, there is a potential risk of falls in older adults as they rush to the toilet. More so frequently in the middle of the night. In another blog, we discussed the importance of pelvic floor health, which by strengthening it would over time reduce the frequency of needing to release the bladder.
If you or a loved one have urinary incontinence, it’s important that you contact your health care practitioner to determine what’s behind the incontinence. Prior to an appointment, jot a few notes such as:
- Questions to ask during the appointment: What’s the most likely cause of my symptoms? What kind of tests do I need?
There are many absorbent personal care products that provide comfort from pads and underwear to briefs and guards. These products are tailored to fit an individual’s unique needs and are typically found in home health pharmacies.
There is still a stigma attached to this ailment, but the only way to combat this misconception is to learn more about it, bring it out into the open and discuss it. Life should be comfortable and the more you understand incontinence issues, the better prepared you or your loved one can deal with it. Remember, knowledge is power, so arm yourself.
Learn more about Nurse Next Door home care services and how we can help.
Author Bio: Anne Rockingham is an accomplished healthcare professional with nearly 40 years of experience in nursing. Anne’s career began when she graduated as a Registered Nurse and continued her undergraduate studies at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York and Brock University in St. Catharines. Since then, she has gained experience in the public and private sectors holding multiple positions including Staff Nurse, Supervisor Nurse, Nurse Educator, National Manager and Quality Implementation Coordinator. She is currently Nurse Next Door’s Director of Clinical Operations, North America.