What is Urinary Incontinence?
You have urinary incontinence if you lose pee by accident on a regular basis. Of course, you are not alone. Incontinence affects up to 35 percent of elderly persons who live alone, and the rate is substantially greater in nursing homes.
Incontinence is more than an annoyance. For fear of an accident, many seniors give up golfing, bridge club, drives to see their grandchildren, and other beloved hobbies. Self-esteem might be harmed, and loneliness and sadness can result.
Urinary incontinence embarrasses some people to the point where they won’t even tell their doctor about it. That’s a shame because good medical care can help many elderly people regain bladder control. Incontinence isn’t always a sign that you’ve aged and become feeble; it’s a medical ailment that’s usually simple to manage.
What is the difference between the various types of incontinence?
Incontinence is a strong desire.
This type of incontinence, often known as overactive bladder, affects the majority of older adults who have difficulties holding their urine. Even though their bladder isn’t full, the muscular wall of their bladder contracts several times throughout the day, causing a sudden and urgent desire to urinate. Before a person can get to the toilet, small amounts of pee frequently escape.
Bladders become more twitchy as we get older, but there are a number of variables that might exacerbate urge incontinence. Stroke survivors, people with Parkinson’s disease, some types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, urinary tract infections, and males with an enlarged prostate are more likely to develop the disorder.
Incontinence due to overflow.
Many senior citizens are incontinent because their bladders do not fully contract. Urine flow slows to a trickle, and the bladder never feels completely empty. Overflow incontinence is a problem that occurs when the tube that transports pee out of the bladder becomes obstructed (the urethra). Many persons with this syndrome drip urine frequently, if not constantly.
Overflow incontinence can be caused by anything that kills the nerves that control the bladder, such as diabetes, prostate surgery, and drugs like narcotic painkillers and sedatives. The disease can also be an adverse effect of tremor-controlling and hypertension-controlling medications (calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem). Antihistamines and other over-the-counter medications can also lead to this sort of incontinence. Overflow incontinence in men occurs when the flow of urine is blocked by an enlarged prostate.
Incontinence due to stress.
Many women suffer from stress incontinence, a bladder control issue in which they frequently lose small amounts of pee when they laugh, sneeze, cough, or exercise. Drops in estrogen can weaken the tissues that hold back urine, making this problem more common in older women.
How can I get rid of my incontinence?
Make an appointment with your family doctor, urologist, or geriatrician if you’re having difficulties managing your urine. A doctor can diagnose your specific kind of incontinence (or multiple types), rule out any underlying disorders or drugs, and, most importantly, help you recover control.
Simple lifestyle adjustments can often be enough to alleviate incontinence. To retrain your bladder if you have an overactive bladder, your doctor may recommend sticking to a regular schedule for both drinking and urinating.
Women with stress incontinence can avoid many accidents by crossing their legs when they laugh, cough, or sneeze, which is the ultimate in simple solutions. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, peeing before leaving the house or going to bed, and urinating frequently whether or not you feel the need is all simple remedies.
Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, can help women with stress incontinence. These are the muscles that allow you to stop your urine in the middle of its flow. Squeeze them 10 to 20 times in a row, holding each squeeze for 10 seconds, three times a day. Within eight weeks, nearly 80% of all women who try the exercises say their incontinence has significantly improved or even disappeared.
When it comes to a muscle-strengthening exercise as a preventative precaution, some people swear by Pilates. While the evidence for Pilates is at best anecdotal, doctors do know that physical activity, in general, lowers the likelihood of having incontinence in the first place.
Meanwhile, absorbent pads that fit into underwear or even adult diapers are available without a prescription at drugstores and supermarkets, allowing many elders to remain mobile and active. Many elders have resumed their previous activities, such as traveling and attending dances, thanks to the usage of these devices. The Cleveland Clinic recommends wearing dark, loose-fitting clothing to help disguise stains, as well as a barrier cream.
If self-help tactics aren’t working, your doctor has a variety of options, including pharmacological therapy.