Urinary Incontinence: What It Is and How to Manage It

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3D diagram of a bladder

Urinary Incontinence Explained & How You Can Manage It

Urinary incontinence is a bladder control condition that most often happens to older adults, but it can also be an issue for some people younger people. Women are more likely to become incontinent but there are many men dealing with this condition. Since incontinence can happen to anyone at any time, it’s good to know what to expect and how it can be managed successfully by those who are afflicted with this life-changing condition.

What Causes Incontinence?

A leaky bladder can be compared to a leaky faucet. Instead of water leaking, the bladder leaks urine. The reason why the body isn’t able to stop the leaks is because the muscles that surround the bladder become too loose to function properly.

Why Does Incontinence Happen?

There are a variety of reasons why a person becomes afflicted with incontinence. The bladder or pelvic floor muscles are weakened. A person may have had a urinary tract infection. Nerve damage could be the culprit. Other reasons include pelvic organ prolapse, prescription medication side effects, chronic constipation, irritation or infection and overactive bladder muscles. In men, incontinence may also be caused by inflammation of the prostate gland or an enlarged prostate gland.

Types of Incontinence

There are four different types of incontinence.

Functional Incontinence. This is a type of incontinence that can happen to people with normal bladders. Situations may arise due to mobility issues or illness that prevent a person from getting to the bathroom on time.

Stress Incontinence. Activities such as exercise, lifting heavy objects, coughing, a sudden sneeze or even laughing can put too much pressure on the bladder, triggering urine leaks.

Urge Incontinence. A person feels a sudden urge to urinate and is unable to hold back the flow of urine.

Overflow Incontinence. The bladder is always full due to something obstructing the urethra. Small leaks occur because of an overflow of liquid in the bladder.

Here are some ways to manage incontinence.

Track Bladder Activity

In order to successfully manage incontinence, it helps to know how the condition is affecting you on a daily basis. Get a journal or notebook and start keeping a diary that records how much fluid you consume, how many times you leak urine during the entire day, urges to urinate and what you are doing when the leakage occurs. Record this information for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven days to get an accurate picture of your incontinence situation. This information is helpful for planning a management strategy.

Create A Fluid and Toilet Schedule

Plan ahead of time when you’re going to drink liquid or eat liquid foods. You can set times of day for starting and stopping fluid intake. You may also want to plan when to take a bathroom break to empty your bladder, preventing it from being too full.

Exercise the Pelvic Area

Women and men can strengthen pelvic muscles by doing Kegel exercises. Some people like to use a classic Kegel exerciser tool, while others opt for biofeedback exercisers.

Use Effective Incontinence Protection

Incontinence protection products are essential for avoiding embarrassment. Always have these items on hand.

  • Incontinence Liner Pads
  • Incontinence Underwear
  • Incontinence Furniture Pads

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