As many as 13 million people deal with incontinence. Incontinence is a correctable, yet costly condition, with an excess of 30 billion dollars spent last year alone on treatment. Incontinence is a symptom of other problems such as nerve disorders, loss of sensation and weakening muscles. It can also occur due to medications or surgery and affects approximately 10-15% of seniors age 65 and over.
There are four different types of incontinence:
People with stress incontinence lose urine when they exert pressure on their bladders. It may happen when they lift something heavy, laugh, cough or exercise.
This is when a person cannot completely empty their bladder. Often frequent urination may occur or sometimes there is a constant leak of urine. Your loved one may feel as thought their bladder is always partly full or may drip urine all the time.
People who just canít seem to get to the bathroom in time or who lose urine when they feel the need to urinate have what is called urge incontinence. Sometimes they have accidents at night have to go to the bathroom quite often day or night.
Mixed incontinence means that a person has some combination of the other three types. Stress and urge incontinence are commonly seen together, especially in older women.
If you suspect your loved one is incontinent, consider the following:
Talk about incontinence with your love one
Those suffering from incontinence are often too embarrassed to seek help or even admit that they are incontinent.
Consult your loved oneís primary care physician about incontinence
There are treatments available that can ease if not cure this common condition.
Frequently check for soiled undergarments
Urine is a skin irritant and may promote skin ulcers.
Be aware that people with incontinence are prone to falls that may lead to
injuries. A person with incontinence will often rush and trip on their way
to the bathroom especially at night.
Set a regular schedule to use the bathroom
Frequent and planned visits to the bathroom, usually every three hours,
will help your loved one avoid soiling themselves and can assist with
If your loved one is incontinent, there are certain foods or beverages
that should be avoided which may irritate the bladder.
Coffee or tea (with or without caffeine)
Citrus fruits and juices
Highly spiced foods
Sweeteners (sugar, honey, corn syrup)