Let’s Talk Incontinence!

Incontinence can be a taboo subject for people, especially women. But more than 4 in 10 women have some type of incontinence. The numbers could be higher as people don’t like to discuss incontinence and instead, they suffer in silence. Here are some things you should know and may even help you if you experience incontinence.

First off, incontinence is described as an involuntary loss of bladder/ bowel function. There are many different types of incontinence, the most common types being Stress and Urge Incontinence. Sometimes a person may experience a combination of types. But there are options and treatments to help sufferers live a more comfortable life.

Signs of Incontinence

There are several ways to identify if someone is experiencing incontinence:

Some physical indicators include:

● Odour of urine in the room

● Soiled undergarments or bedding

● Accidents while sneezing or laughing

● Irritated perineal area

An incontinence sufferer may also display emotional indicators, such as:

● Decline in social activities or a reluctance to participate

● Anger or Frustration

● Desire for Attention

If someone you care for is exhibiting these symptoms, you should encourage them to speak with their doctor.

Types of Incontinence

Functional Incontinence is the inability to reach the bathroom in time due to lack of mobility or mental illness. If a loved one is bedridden, wheelchair bound or uses a mobility aid, it is very common to experience incontinence.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) occurs when the bladder unexpectedly leaks due to pressure from physical exertion. This can include coughing, sneezing, laughing, heavy lifting or exercise. Leaks can occur even during a minor movement! This happens when the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder have become weakened so they are unable to tighten enough to keep all the urine in. These leaks tend to be small but can be larger. This is the most common type of incontinence experienced by women.

Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI) occurs when the bladder tries to empty despite its best efforts to prevent leaking. This happens because there is missing communication between the brain and bladder. UUI can cause large losses of urine and with an increased frequency. This is the most common type of incontinence for men and is commonly linked to an enlarged prostate. However, UUI can also be experienced by women.

Neurological Bladder Disorder occurs when a patient suffers from certain medical conditions such as a stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or MS. The Disorder is described as the brain failing to recognize the signals to urinate, often due to nerve damage caused by injury or illness.

Suggestions to Reduce or Prevent Urine Leakage

There are many things you can do to reduce urine leakage:

● Avoid Food Irritants

○ Citrus Foods

○ Tomato Based Foods

○ Spicy Foods

○ Cho