Urinary incontinence occurs when a person cannot control their ability to urinate, leading to involuntary urine loss. It's important to note that urinary incontinence is often associated with aging, but it is not an obligatory consequence. The risk of urinary incontinence increases with age, with approximately 20% of people aged 80 and older experiencing incontinence, compared to 9% in the general population.
Temporary incontinence can be caused by various factors such as constipation, urinary tract infections, or the consumption of alcohol or large quantities of liquids that can irritate the bladder.
Permanent incontinence may be caused by certain medications prescribed for allergies or depression, diuretic medications, or muscle relaxants. It's important to consult a healthcare professional in all cases. Untreated incontinence can lead to infections and other complications over time.
Several factors increase the risk of urinary leakage, such as being overweight or consuming excessive coffee. Smoking is also a risk factor because it can lead to chronic coughing, which promotes episodes of urinary leakage. Causes of urinary incontinence can be related to the bladder or the sphincter, as well as aging, which makes incontinence more likely. Urinary tract infections can also be a cause. It's worth noting that the causes of urinary incontinence vary by gender. In men, it can be due to prostate inflammation or prostate cancer, while in women, common causes include vaginal infections, pregnancies, and childbirth. Many Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients also suffer from incontinence.
Treatment options vary depending on the type of incontinence and its cause. First, there are exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, often referred to as Kegel exercises. Behavioral therapies such as bladder training, which involves resisting the urge to urinate, can also be effective. There are also medications available to reduce urinary leakage. Some medications prevent the problem, while others increase the capacity to hold back leaks.
The main medications prescribed for urinary leakage are antispasmodics and estrogens.
It's essential to avoid self-medication, which can be very dangerous to health in this area.
How can you manage urinary incontinence effectively in your daily life? Here are some practical tips from Senior Plus:
Avoid tea and alcohol, as these beverages can irritate the bladder and increase the urge to urinate.
Relieve abdominal pressure by losing weight.
Limit fluid intake two to three hours before bedtime.
When going out, plan restroom access in advance.
Wear specialized underwear that fits your body shape and is discreet.
Drink in moderation and bring spare underwear.
Monitor your diet, as certain foods can irritate the bladder.
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