Urinary incontinence is a condition where a person urinates by accident. While incontinence may happen at any age, it is more common among older people, particularly if they struggle with mobility issues. It is also more common among women.
While incontinence does not cause major health problems, it can be embarrassing and may cause discomfort or distress to the senior patients. Fortunately, incontinence can be managed, controlled, or prevented. It starts with understanding the underlying causes, then exploring possible approaches in minimizing its impact on the quality of life.
What are the common causes of incontinence among seniors?
There are several reasons for incontinence among older people. From a medical perspective, incontinence often occurs when the muscles do not work properly. As a result, accidental urine leakage can happy when someone does something as ordinary as sneezing, laughing, coughing, or doing exercise.
Incontinence is the result of the weakening muscles or malfunctioning muscles. They can arise from several causes, such as:
- Side effects of medications;
- Pelvic organ prolapse, when one or more of the organs in the pelvis slip down from their natural position. When the pelvic organs are out of place, they do not work normally, which can result in accidental urinary leakage.
- Temporary illnesses such as constipation or urinary tract infection;
- Overworked bladder muscles;
- Damage to the nerves which control the bladder from diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease;
- Enlarged prostate in men;
- Vaginal infection or irritation in women;
- Certain diseases, like arthritis, which may make it difficult for someone with reasonable bladder control to go to the bathroom in time; and
- Injuries to the muscles or nerves after surgery.
A physician’s evaluation will help determine and devise a management plan for persons suffering from incontinence. The caregiver or the senior patient will have to provide a medical history and use of certain medications. Make sure to provide details pertaining to incontinence, including when it occurs, how often it occurs, or how much urine they empty, or whether other symptoms are present. The physician will be likely to conduct tests for kidney functions and urinary tract infections and will assess how well the senior patient voids his or her bladder.
Incontinence among Alzheimer’s disease patients
Elderly people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease tend to suffer from incontinence. They may not realize that they need to empty their bladder or are unable to find the bathroom in time. To minimize the chances of accidental leakage among patients suffering Alzheimer’s disease, as a caregiver you can do the following:
- Avoid giving your patients with caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea, as well as soda, as they can increase the chances of accidental urination. However, provide them with much water as needed so that they can get proper fluids.
- Keep pathways clear of clutter and other obstacles and keep the lights on at all times.
- Provide them with incontinence briefs or underwear that can be easily worn and taken off.
- Make sure that you provide them with regular restroom breaks.
- Use adult diapers or other absorbent disposable pads when going away for trips.
Contact Kerr Medical for Support to Patients with Incontinence
According to the Urology Care Foundation, an estimated 25% to 33% of American men and women suffer from urinary incontinence. Kerr Medical offers available solutions to alleviate the distress and discomfort of incontinence for every patient, including the elderly. After discussing with your physician about a recommended treatment plan, visit Kerr Medical’s online store or contact us at 888-254-3444 to order products for incontinence control and management.