What is Incontinence?
When the urinary system is functioning normally, bladder muscles restrict to move urine to the urethra. Simultaneously, the muscles around the urethra relax to allow urine to pass through. Urinary incontinence occurs when some or all of these muscles are not contracting properly, either because signals to the muscles misfire or a physical problem with the muscles themselves, resulting in unwanted urine leakage. Although incontinence is a significant challenge, it is not a medical condition in and of itself; it is a symptom of an underlying condition that can be managed in multiple ways including prescription medication, surgery, and over-the-counter incontinence supplies.
Neurogenic Bladder - a dysfunction that results from interference with the normal nerve pathways associated with urination.
Bladder Training - The use of behavioral therapy to manage an overactive bladder, ex: not urinating for 10 or 15 minutes, to re-accustom the bladder to holding larger volumes.
*Sourced from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/
TYPES OF INCONTINENCE
Involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder accompanying physical activity, like laughing, coughing, sneezing, or physical exercise, which places increased pressure on the abdomen.
Urinary or fecal incontinence preceded by a sudden, uncontrollable impulse to evacuate; often a complaint of patients with urinary tract infections and in some women before the onset of menstruation.
When something will not allow the bladder to completely void of urine, excessive pressure causes frequent or constant dribbling known as overflow incontinence. Causes can include prostate enlargement, diabetes and spinal cord injuries.
Involuntary voiding that occurs when the bladder muscles contract and release urine without warning or an urge to urinate; Commonly associated with neurological conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, or damage caused by radiation or surgery.
Other Types of Incontinence
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence - When more than one type of incontinence occurs simultaneously, most commonly a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
- Bowel Incontinence - The inability to control defecation; both physiologic and psychological conditions can be contributing factors; also known as Fecal Incontinence.
INCONTINENCE CAUSES & TREATMENTS
Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Adults
Certain factors increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence including age, gender, body weight, tobacco use, family history, and some disease. Generally, women are more likely to develop incontinence as they age due to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles during childbirth and menopause; however men with prostate disease also have an increased likelihood. Other conditions such as neurological disorders and diabetes may also increase the risk of developing incontinence despite gender or age.
Common Temporary Causes
- Urinary Tract Infections;
- Natural diuretics causing high volume of urine including:
- Heart and blood pressure medications
- Sedatives and muscle relaxers
- Large doses of Vitamin C
- Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages
- Sparkling water
- Chili peppers
- Citrus fruit and other foods high in acid
- Artificial sweeteners
- Foods high in spice or sugar
Common Persistent Causes
- Pregnancy and Childbirth
- Aging Bladder and Menopause
- Enlarged Prostate or Prostate Cancer
- Physiological Obstruction such as a tumor or urinary stones
- Neurological Disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, stroke, brain tumor, or spinal injury
Treating incontinence involves identifying and resolving the underlying condition but it can be managed in multiple ways. Options can include surgical intervention, medications, bladder retraining, and strengthening exercises. By maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding bladder-irritating foods and beverages, limiting caffeine intake, increasing fiber intake, and quitting smoking, the risk of developing incontinence may decrease.
Treatment plans may include:
- Kegel Exercises - Pelvic muscle strengthening;
- Lifestyle changes - dietary conscientiousness, weight management, and/or smoking cessation;
- Body Awareness - Bladder training, biofeedback;
- Bulking Agents like collagen or Botox;
- Incontinence Products to manage incidents.
*Information sourced from Mayoclinic.org
USEFUL INCONTINENCE SUPPLIES
When struggling with temporary or chronic bladder control conditions, incontinence products for men and women are indispensable. These products prevent embarrassing accidents with discretion and promote a sense of security and confidence. A vast array of medical incontinence supplies and accessories are available including sanitizing wipes, bed pads, protective underwear and even washable incontinence underwear. Each product is designed to help you remain clean and comfortable no matter the circumstances.
Bed Pads & Underpads
Reusable and disposable bed pads and underpads offer protection for mattresses, furniture, and car seats.
Pads, Shields & Guards
Made for both men and women, incontinence pads and guards wick away moisture and absorb odors for conditions ranging from light to heavy.
Wipes & Washcloths
Disposable incontinence wipes and washcloths stave away unwanted skin rashes and irritations while keeping you fresh, clean, and comfortable.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What causes urinary incontinence in adults?
Urinary incontinence occurs when bladder muscles and muscles surrounding the bladder are not functioning properly. This results in accidental urine leaks. It typically happens when the muscles relax without warning. There can be a variety of underlying causes. Weak bladder muscles are a common cause; as are weak pelvic floor muscles or overactive bladder muscles. Nerve damage from Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis can lead to incontinence. In men, blockages from an enlarged prostate can be the cause. In women, vaginal infections can cause incontinence.
Your doctor will need to diagnose underlying causes. For people with this condition, bladder protection products are recommended. For example, protective underwear can prove useful through the diagnosis and treatment process.
What causes bowel incontinence?
Bowel incontinence is sometimes also referred to as fecal incontinence. It is characterized by a loss of bowel control that causes involuntary bowel movements. Causes can vary, but there are many things people can do to treat bowel incontinence. Diet modification or medications may be necessary. Things like bowel retraining and Kegel exercises can help retrain the bowels or strengthen pelvic floor muscles to prevent incontinence.
Incontinence undergarments are indispensable for people unable to make it to the bathroom. There are also other products that will prove useful including incontinence wipes to clean and maintain hygiene and incontinence deodorizers to minimize odors.
How are adult diapers sized?
Adult diapers come in a variety of sizes. If you’ve never purchased them before, you may not know where to start with sizing. Like many types of clothing, diapers come in sizes from XS to XL and beyond. Often, these sizes are based on waist measurements. For instance, size XS may measure between 20 and 26 inches at the waist. The XL will be larger—as an example, 43 to 67 inches at the waist. Some manufacturers also include body weight in their size charts to help you choose correctly.
Adult diaper sizing can vary from one manufacturer to the next. It is always best to refer to the size chart provided by the brand to make sure that you’re getting the correct size.
How do I protect a bed from incontinence incidents?
Bed pads and under pads are a lifesaver when it comes to protecting a bed from incidents of incontinence. If the incontinence is slight, bed pads are available in a variety of absorbency levels. This will help keep the mattress dry and sanitary. There are both disposable and reusable kinds, depending on your needs.
For larger incontinence issues, pair bed pads with a waterproof mattress cover to simplify the cleanup process. Disposable bed pads or under pads should still be used on top of the mattress cover as they will catch the bulk of the waste, making disposal easier and the bed more comfortable. Bed pads are designed with layers of padding not only to absorb moisture, but to provide cushioning, as well.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.