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Article: Incontinence In Sports

Incontinence In Sports - Novamed (Europe) ltd

Incontinence In Sports

Some people are embarrassed by the accidents they experience while competing in sports. What's more embarrassing is how common of an occurrence this can be, especially if you have a disability that makes it difficult to use toilet facilities while you're training or at competitions. This article will help readers understand how incontinence occurs and what steps to take to prevent it.

Incontinence in sports: a guide

People with disabilities face many barriers, often interrupting participation in everyday life. Athletes with specific disabilities are no exception — despite their dedication and perseverance, they must find ways to manage their condition and avoid leakage during competition time.

Incontinence and disability

If you have a disability, you already understand how it affects your lifestyle. Conditions like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis can affect bladder and bowel function. This is because the brain has difficulty communicating with these parts of the body. When this happens, normal nerve impulses are not sent to the muscles that control urination or defecation. That means your muscles don't work correctly to control your bladder or bowels when you need them to — sometimes leading to unexpected leakage.

For many people with disabilities, incontinence is just another part of life that they must manage carefully.
Incontinence in sports

People with disabilities become active participants in sports for physical fitness, enjoyment and social interaction. Sports that involve contacts with the ground, such as running and basketball, are hazardous for those with lousy bladder or bowel control. Incontinence can be a problem in these sports because physical contact can make it difficult to control your bladder or bowels when you need them most.

Most people who experience incontinence have problems controlling their bladder and bowels only at certain times — not all day long and not even at specific times each day. For example, many people with incontinence have a problem when they get up in the morning or experiencing urgency during the daytime hours. Others have a problem only when exercising; others can't control their bladder or bowels at night.

Doctors use several terms to describe such situations, including the following:

Urinary incontinence: Involuntary loss of urine

Faecal incontinence: Involuntary loss of bowel movement material

Urge incontinence: Involuntary sensations of urgency, followed by involuntary leakage of urine or stool shortly after the person feels the urge to urinate or defecate. This condition causes many people to change their lifestyles dramatically because they fear that an accident will happen. For example, women with urge incontinence may wear pads and change them frequently during the day.

People with urge incontinence feel a strong need to urinate or have a bowel movement, but their bodies do not respond immediately. In most cases, the person must wait a few minutes until the muscles begin to relax and make it to the bathroom. For many people with urge incontinence, an accident can happen any time of day or night without warning.

The best way to prevent leakage is for people with bladder or bowel problems to:

Understand how their disability affects their bodies

Learn how to deal with the condition when it occurs so that they can resume participation in sports.

PREVENTION is the key to stopping leakage in sports. There are many measures a person can take to prevent problems, including:

Wearing pads, underwear and pyjamas that absorb moisture (e.g., panty-liners and men's briefs with side-suspender fasteners)

You are dealing with bowel problems before they develop into leakage by learning how to get up at night and effectively using the toilet or other methods of controlling your bowels while you sleep.

You are changing your incontinent pads frequently as a preventive measure because frequent changes of the bladder and bowel pads prevent infections from setting in.

When you don't want it to happen, Leakage can be a severe problem when you're playing sports. It can mean that you'll have to miss out on participating in some of your favourite sports and other activities. Don't let incontinence stop you from enjoying doing the things that make life worthwhile — talk with your doctor about managing your condition effectively.

What causes incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a symptom of an underlying disorder that affects bladder or bowel function, such as:

Bladder outlet obstruction (where the bladder cannot empty) causes urinary retention (a condition where the bladder fills up and cannot empty). This occurs when the muscles that control the bladder relax too much, and urine backs up into the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body).

Spinal cord injuries can cause a spinal cord reflex called "deafferentation", which means that many of your normal nerves will no longer work. This will result in problems with bladder or bowel function.

For example, men with spinal cord injuries have incontinence because they do not have normal nerves to signal their bladder and bowels. Sometimes this results in leakage or accidental loss of urine. In these cases, surgery may be performed, but it is often performed on men younger than 30.

When men with spinal cord injuries have urinary incontinence, it is usually very mild and does not require treatment. In many cases, the men will continue to be incontinent unless they develop other problems such as infections or pressure from the weight of their clothing.

Faecal incontinence occurs when standard nerve signals that tell the bladder to empty and muscle spasms in the colon are disrupted by injury, surgery, disease or a medical condition. When faecal incontinence occurs, involuntary movements of muscles and nerves that cause your bowel to empty become less efficient or are lost altogether.

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