Incontinence: What Is It & What To Do About It

Incontinence: What Is It & What To Do About It

Posted by Jeanne Lowry on Dec 20th 2022

Incontinence: What Is It & What To Do About It

The average person does so many activities throughout the day without thinking twice about them, such as sleeping, eating, or going to the bathroom. However, all of these have multiple medical problems that can make them more difficult, especially the last one. Having full control over your bladder is something that everyone takes for granted.

The bathroom-related problem we want to focus on today is incontinence. You’ve likely heard this term before, but you might not know all the details about what it is or what you can do about it. Luckily, we’re here to shed some light on the subject. That way, if you ever have to deal with this medical condition, you’ll know exactly what to do.

What is Incontinence?

Let’s begin by going over what incontinence is exactly. We will start by reviewing how your urinary tract normally works to best explain it. Your kidneys create urine by filtering the waste product from your blood. From there, it travels through your ureters to the bladder, where it gets stored until the brain tells the bladder to release it. When that happens, the urine expels itself through the urethra.

While there are a few reasons why incontinence might occur, the issue always happens in that last step since this medical issue involves your body releasing your urine before you’re ready to do so. Fortunately, this usually comes in the form of slight leakage as opposed to a full release of your urine, but incontinence comes in many forms.

The Types of Incontinence

Now it’s time to go over the various types of incontinence. Even though they all have similar results, they occur for very different reasons, which we’ll cover here.

Urge Incontinence

When people think of incontinence, they tend to think of the urge variation of it. This is when a person doesn’t make it to the bathroom in time before the need to go arises. An overactive bladder (OAB) will usually be the primary cause of this condition. Other medical issues, such as infections, nerve damage, or excess body weight, can lead to an OAB, which will then cause urge incontinence.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence occurs when you leak urine when performing strenuous activities. Running, jumping, or lifting too much weight can cause stress incontinence. However, in some cases, minor activities such as laughing or coughing can make it happen. When this happens, it’s almost always due to weakened muscles in your pelvic floor, leaving your bladder as the only thing holding your urine in.

Overflow Incontinence

One of the more uncommon forms of this condition is overflow incontinence. The upside to this one is that it always results in minor leaks instead of a complete loss of control. This is because someone dealing with overflow incontinence never fully empties their bladder, leading to the last little bit leaking out on occasion. Problems such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and an enlarged prostate could all cause this version of incontinence.

Who Is Likely To Experience It?

The two main groups of people who tend to experience incontinence more often are seniors and women. This is because both groups are likely to experience the main cause of incontinence: weakened pelvic muscles. Older people experience this as all muscles lose their strength as they age. However, that doesn’t mean all seniors will experience incontinence.

The same goes for women. Pregnancy and menopause can put more pressure on your bladder, weaken your pelvic floor, and lead to hormonal changes that alter your bladder control. All these could lead to incontinence, but none will guarantee it’ll happen.

An important thing to note, though, is incontinence can happen to anyone regardless of age or gender. If you have any of the previously mentioned preexisting conditions, you could be at risk for incontinence.

When Should You Contact a Doctor?

Even if you have any of the previously mentioned conditions, it doesn’t mean you should rush to see your doctor. While incontinence can be a challenge to deal with, it only has one key symptom to look out for: the loss of control over urination.

This means you only need to talk to your doctor about incontinence once it starts occurring semi-regularly. If you lost control over your bladder only once, you’re probably okay; accidents happen. Still, you should keep an eye on it in the future, just in case.

What Can You Do About It?

Once you’ve talked to your doctor and they’ve confirmed that you have incontinence, it’s time to figure out what you should do about it. Understanding incontinence is only half the battle.

Make Some Lifestyle Changes

The first thing you should do after finding out you have incontinence is try to make some lifestyle changes. Many of the forms of this condition that we mentioned occur because of weakened muscles or bad habits, which means you have the power to fix them.

If your incontinence is health-related, you should take steps to improve your quality of life. Exercise to lose excess body weight and do Kegal exercises to build up your pelvic floor. Be careful when lifting heavy amounts of weight since that can also trigger incontinence, but you should be safe to do most forms of exercise.

You should also change your diet. While this will also help you lose weight, the importance of doing this comes down to avoiding foods and drinks that can worsen your symptoms. Anything with caffeine, alcohol, citrus, or spice in it can make your condition much more difficult to handle.

Utilize Incontinence Products

Along with making these lifestyle changes, you should also utilize incontinence products, such as padded briefs and catheters. While these won’t directly help cure your incontinence, they will stop it from being such a troublesome issue.

If you aren’t sure where to get incontinence products online, My Care Supplies is here to help. We have an expansive selection of briefs and catheters for you to choose from, which will help you regain control of your bladder.

Start Using Medication

If your lifestyle changes haven’t made the impact you hoped for, your doctor can prescribe medications that can assist with your recovery. Some meds will help contract your muscles, which will help with urge and stress incontinence. In contrast, others will do the opposite and help your muscles relax, improving problems associated with overflow incontinence.

Prescriptions will start with low dosages and increase over time if your symptoms haven’t subsided. The reasons for this are to ensure you don’t overmedicate, as well as make sure the side effects don’t become too intense.

Look To Possible Surgeries

If all else fails, you can undergo some surgeries to relieve this condition. Though surgery should always be the last resort, your doctor will review these solutions with you. We just want to let you know that it’s an option if nothing else brings you relief.

Incontinence: What Is It & What To Do About It