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The Inconvenience of Incontinence
By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

(Page 1 of 4)

Just mention the word “incontinence” or “bladder leakage” and watch people react. Most people are reluctant to speak about it and many are afraid to even discuss it with their doctor. Surprisingly, aging alone is not the only cause of bladder leakage or incontinence, as it is commonly known. Actually, it can occur in many age groups and affects men, women and, yes, even caregivers.

Incontinence can be an inconvenient and unsettling condition for those who experience it on a regular basis. Many believe their only option is wearing absorbent undergarments when, in fact, there are now a wide variety of treatment options available today.

According to JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of urine severe enough to cause adverse social or hygienic consequences. Statistics show that more than 13 million Americans of all ages are currently affected by incontinence at an estimated cost of over 16 billion dollars per year. More of this money is spent on absorbent pads and undergarments than on treatments. Twice as many women than men are affected by this problem during their lifetime. Of all the issues and challenges that family caregivers face, few are as troubling as incontinence. Changing pads, clothing and bedding day and night can produce tremendous fatigue and frustration for both the caregiver and care receiver. In fact, caregivers report that one of the major factors leading to placing a loved one in the nursing home is unmanageable incontinence.

When high absorbency adult diapers are needed, especially for overnight protection, visit NorthShore Care Supply.


Urinary control problems are complex and involve three areas of the brain plus the spinal cord, bladder and many muscles in the body. It can range from occasional leakage to a complete loss of bladder control; a temporary condition for some, a long-term challenge for others. Incontinence can be divided into several categories: Stress, urge, mixed, overflow, neurologic and reflex/unconscious. Stress and urge incontinence are the most common types.

Stress incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine with physical exertion such as sneezing, coughing or laughing. Urge incontinence occurs with a strong, sudden need to urinate. The bladder contracts prematurely and can be triggered by hearing running water or by an anxious moment such as standing at a locked door while trying to locate the key.


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