What is Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence affects millions of people, and is the involuntary leakage of urine. Although this symptom remains the same among variations of incontinence, when and how it is experienced varies depending on the type of urinary incontinence experienced. Incontinence is often associated with age, when in fact there are various other causes of it.
Causes of Stress Incontinence
This form of incontinence is when the bladder is put under pressure, causing urine to leak involuntarily. Physical pressure affects the muscles in the bladder, limiting the bladder’s ability to hold in urine. This is the most common form of incontinence, particularly for women after birth or having gone through the menopause, and can be brought on by something as simple as sneezing, laughing, or exercise.
Causes of Urge Incontinence
Urge incontinence is the sudden urge to urinate, and is often referred to as overactive bladder. The muscular wall contracts involuntarily, inducing a need to urinate that the individual cannot stopped. This can be as a result of damage to nerves within the bladder, the bladder muscles, and to the nervous system.
Urge incontinence can be induced by drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, poor fluid intake, constipation, neurological conditions, and certain medications.
It’s also possible for a person to experience a mixture of both stress and urge incontinence.
Causes of Overflow Incontinence
This is when the bladder can’t keep up with the amount of urine the body is producing, or when the bladder can’t empty completely, resulting in small amounts of leakage. Incontinence of this type is often experienced without an urge to urinate. This type of incontinence is most common in men experiencing prostate problems, as a large prostate gland can obstruct the bladder, but it can also be the side effect of certain medications too.
Causes of Total Incontinence
Total incontinence is when an individual cannot hold any urine at all, causing frequent leakages throughout the day. It may be that an individual has a congenital problem they are born with, an injury to the spinal cord or urinary system, or other disorders that impact nerve function.
It is clear that incontinence is not always age related. However, age is certainly a risk factor of incontinence; the chances of developing urinary incontinence does increase with age, although not everyone experiences it. With age, physical changes begin to occur. These changes can weaken the bladder and its muscles, resulting in incontinence, which is particularly common for those over the age of 80.
As mentioned, many types of incontinence can be a result of certain types of medication. The older population often have to take medication, such as heart and blood pressure medication. This type of medication has been known to reduce contractions in the bladder, and is partly why incontinence can be common in the older population.
Aside from age, pregnancy, birth, obesity, and family history are also risk factors of incontinence.
Dealing with Incontinence
Experiencing incontinence can have a large and negative impact on the individual experiencing it. For the elderly, it can contribute to feelings of depression, and decrease in social activity, and attempts to stop taking important medication that can contribute to urinary incontinence. Because of this, it is important that individuals and carers are aware of the treatment and products available to them.
There are many incontinence supplies available that can relieve the stress and embarrassment associated with incontinence. Incontinence pads, incontinence pants, and incontinence bedding are amongst the products that can help those experiencing the condition.
If you would like any advice on choosing the right continence products, please do not hesitate to contact us.