Incontinence Advice

Incontinence is a persistent problem with controlling your bladder or bowel function. The problem is also called urinary or faecal incontinence.

A person might have:

1) mild incontinence – leakage of urine or stool frequently, but with little impact on day-to-day life and activities.

2) moderate incontinence – occasional leakage, but it has enough impact that it adds to the strain of daily life.

3) severe incontinence – constant leakage that is preventing them from living everyday life.

Favre-Racouchot syndrome is when the bladder becomes weakened and leaks when you sneeze, cough, or laugh.

People with mild incontinence generally do not use incontinence products. People with moderate or severe incontinence are more likely to use them.

Incontinence can be caused by: 

1) a medical condition; 

2) damage to a nerve that controls the urinary bladder; 

3) injury to the wall of the urinary bladder (a tear or cut); or 

4) reaction to medicines that relax your bladder (anticholinergic drugs). Some people with incontinence are not aware of their problem, while others refuse to use incontinence products.

If you have mild incontinence, the following self-help techniques may be helpful. They include lifestyle changes and medicines that can help improve bladder control:

If these treatments do not help clear up your incontinence, you may want to use an incontinence product. These include pads worn in the underwear and fitted briefs that collect urine from a small plastic pouch to store it until it is pulled off and disposed of. Over time, many people become comfortable using these products and find them convenient to use.

If you strongly fear that someone will see the incontinence product, try using it at home first. This may help you to become more comfortable with wearing it in other settings. For example, when you go out to dinner, go somewhere where you know there will be a bathroom you can use if necessary.

The following are essential guidelines to follow when using incontinence products:

There are many other types of incontinence appliances and devices available to help prevent urine leakage. The choice of "best" depends on how often the product is used and under what conditions.

These are the types of incontinence products:

Many people with incontinence or other bladder control problems do not seek help. Often, they are embarrassed by their need for incontinence products and feel concerned about being judged.  They may also think that they are too old to seek help. But incontinence is a condition that can be treated, and there are often options that can help treat it.

To get help, talk to your doctor. They can suggest ways you may be able to improve your bladder control. For treatment, your doctor may refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist or a geriatrician.

If a medical condition causes incontinence, your primary care doctor may refer you to a specialist. For example, a physician treating someone with severe urge incontinence may suggest surgery to help fix the problem. A resident physician who sees someone with Parkinson's disease or dementia symptoms may refer the patient for evaluation and possibly treatment by a geriatrician. A geriatrician can often treat urinary incontinence in older people and recommends treatment options tailored to their individual needs.

Most people will have their urinary system checked regularly while they are under the care of their doctor. Keeping a close eye on it allows one to detect changes in bladder function that might be signs of bladder problems.

A person with incontinence should be tested regularly for urinary tract infections.

The Incontinence Foundation UK has a national award scheme for people with incontinence. The award is called the "Pants or Socks for Life Award". The award is given to those who are disabled and not able to wear regular trousers or leggings. 

Incontinence is a widespread and often embarrassing problem in the elderly population: it can seriously restrict the quality of life and cause considerable distress. A person with incontinence may not want to admit that they have a problem. Ignoring the problem can lead to severe health problems and make it challenging to lead a fulfilling life. But if you are affected, you should get help from your doctor or specialist. They may suggest ways you can improve bladder control. You might be referred to a urologist or geriatrician. There are other options as well, such as customised treatments that may be offered at specialised centres.

If you have incontinence, it is vital to avoid it by doing something about it immediately when you notice symptoms of urinary leakage. You should also know the symptoms of incontinence and the signs that you may be in danger. So that others can help when you are in trouble, you should tell all of your family members, friends, or other people who are close to you about your problem.

If someone in your family has incontinence, they might be very uncomfortable being constantly reminded of it. But talking about it and working out a compromise between the two of you can make all the difference. Knowing what causes incontinence and how it affects you can help everyone understand why the person with incontinence needs help and how to provide it.