How To Manage Urinary Incontinence? A Guide To Home Care Assistance
Urinary incontinence is defined by Canada Continence as the involuntary loss of bladder control and general bladder weakness. It affects almost 5 million people in Canada and 200 million people worldwide, the vast majority being women. The prevalence of having urinary incontinence also increases with age and disability. It is underdiagnosed and underreported, mostly because people with urinary incontinence feels embarrassed. Having urinary incontinence can impact ones personal and social relationships.
Why does it happen?
It occurs because there is a failure of the storage function of the lower urinary tract; this maybe due to inappropriate activity of the bladder muscle or ineffectiveness of the continence maintaining mechanisms. Why it exactly happens remain unknown. The most common causes include:
Overactive bladder muscles
Weakened pelvic floor muscles
For some men, an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia
Nerve damage that affects bladder control
A disability or limitation that makes it difficult to get to the toilet quickly
Side effects from a prior surgery
Risk Factors for urinary incontinence
Age – increases with age
Pregnancy – Pregnancy is responsible for marked changes in the urinary tract due to high progesterone levels and pressure effect of gravid uterus
Child birth – this may result in damage to the pelvic floor musculature as well as injury to pudendal and pelvic nerves
Gender – women are more likely to have incontinence
Obesity – extra weight increases pressure on the bladder
Other disease conditions – diabetes and other diseases may increase the risk
Types of urinary incontinence
Stress incontinence – occurs during periods of increased intra-abdominal pressure like sneezing or coughing
Urge incontinence - involuntary urine leakage accompanied by, or immediately preceded by a sudden and compelling desire to urinate that cannot be deferred
Mixed incontinence – having symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence
True incontinence – there is continuous leakage of urine
Overflow incontinence - due to chronic bladder outflow obstruction
Functional – incontinence that occurs due to inability to go to the washroom
How to manage urinary incontinence?
Treatment is based on the clinical findings and degree of discomfort that the person is experiencing. Effective treatment options are available to improve and manage it. Options may include:
losing weight decreases both stress and urge incontinence in both morbidly and moderately obese people
decreasing caffeine intake improves continence
increasing fluid intake, only during the day
eating adequate amount of dietary fibre to avoid constipation
Bladder training – going to the washroom at least every 2 hours
Kegel exercises - Kegel exercises help strengthen pelvic floor and sphincter muscles. By improving the strength of these muscles, you may be able to reduce or stop urine leakage
Medications – Antimuscarinics like Oxybutinin
Use of incontinent products – while this doesn’t prevent urinary incontinence, these products are used to manage incontinence
Surgery – repair of anatomical defect or removal of lesions
Bedside or portable commodes – toilet substitutes and urinals to optimize toilet access
Managing urinary incontinence may be difficult, most especially with the family caregivers. The need to clean soiled clothing due to incontinence can also add to the stress that the families are experiencing. We can offer you an extra hand, different care options are available for you and your loved one.
If you are a senior living alone and having difficulty managing incontinence, Better Living Home Care Services is here to help and support maintain your independence and privacy. Urinary incontinence may be improved with the right care plan. Let our staff help you improve your quality of life!