More Information on Incontinence



Studies on aging…. with respect to the elderly patient population, indicate the top three things individuals deal with are incontinence, dementia and eyesight.

Incontinence is not a normal part of getting older…. It does affect a large percentage of the senior population but the causes should be identified by your doctor. Incontinence is NOT a disease, it is a symptom, but it can be treated once the causes are determined. If you are experiencing any type of incontinence you should see your doctor, there is a good chance you can be helped with this problem.

How often is normal for urinating or having a bowel movement…. Keep in mind that humans come in an infinite variety so there is no one right answer. However there are basic guidelines. Most people urinate four to eight times per twenty four-hour period. Getting up once a night is normal, if you are getting up more than twice per night you should see your doctor. Most people have a bowel movement anywhere between three times per day to three times per week.

Women may notice after childbirth…. that they have a weaker pelvic floor and start to leak when they are coughing, sneezing or lifting. Women may also notice as menopause sets in, urgency to go to the bathroom even if they are not doing anything.

Toilet mapping…. when visiting a restaurant do you find yourself checking for all the fire exits in case there is a fire, or is your focus on locating where all the restrooms are….this is a condition called toilet mapping. Do you know where every single clean bathroom is in the community, so you can make pit stops to address your issue, when you have to commute to work or taking trips? If you start to do these things like toilet mapping , when urinary incontinence becomes a focus of your everyday life, it's a problem and should be addressed. Overactive Bladder is a condition…. that affects one out of five women over 40. Overactive Bladder actually ranks…. in the top 5 of chronic medical conditions, above asthma, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s. Bladder control in women…. 65 years and above is a significant issue. In men, prostate problems, 65 years and older, is a very significant issue. They tend to be associated with a common final pathway of urinary urgency and frequency. Some people think…. that overactive bladder is a condition like arthritis that has to be managed throughout the remainder of their life. It is believed that a combination of therapy, medication and behavioral modification, will allow patients to actually overcome their problem and be able to lead perfectly normal lives.

Overactive Bladder has to do with…. the involuntary contraction or the involuntary bladder squeeze so that you have to race to the bathroom. Medications are designed to relax the bladder.

Overactive Bladder typically comes while…. you are relaxing and suddenly you have a tremendous urge to go to the bathroom. You start to race to the bathroom and sometimes don't make it. Overactive Bladder actually occurs with or without accident. Overactive bladder just simply means the urgency and frequency to go to the bathroom. Studies conducted indicate…. that with behavioral modifications, regardless of any medications or pharmaceutical intervention, 50 percent of patients will show improvement after an eight week course of therapy. If you add medications to that, 85 percent of patients showed an improvement.

It has been suggested…. that for some people, products such as coffee, tea, chocolate, or carbonated beverages can cause bladder irritation. Caffeine is both a diuretic and a bladder irritant and therefore may result in increased urine production as well as enhanced bladder sensitivity. Other foods that might irritate the bladder include citrus fruits, spicy foods, and some cheeses.

Treatment options include…. Kegel exercises, behavioral treatment involving charts and diaries, biofeedback, pelvic floor electrical stimulation, and even surgery are all proven therapies.

The best thing that women can do…. for both stress urinary incontinence and overactive bladder are pelvic floor exercises, called Kegel exercises. This is where you squeeze the muscles in the pelvic floor. Pinching off the urinary flow is a good way to identify the muscles you want to exercise, but that’s not when you actually want to exercise those muscles, exercise those muscles when you are relaxed. This strengthens the pelvic floor to prevent leakage with coughing and sneezing, also when you squeeze the pelvic floor, you send a signal to the bladder that it is not time to go to the bathroom and the bladder actually relaxes.

It is recommended to exercise the pelvic floor muscles by doing 20 to 30 contractions a day. A quick flick, where you just squeeze and relax, squeeze and relax, combined with exercises where you squeeze the pelvic floor and try to hold as long as you can and then relax, provides the best results. You target different muscle fibers in the pelvic floor with both kinds of pelvic exercises. You don't need to be in any special position to perform these exercises; no special devices required and can be done right at home.

It’s also been suggested that in some cases…. Kegel exercises and medications that help to relax the bladder and stabilize the tone of the bladder are complimentary and can be very effective. They actually send a different signal, a sympathetic nervous system signal, to the bladder to relax the bladder.

One final note…. statistics indicate the average delay for seeking medical care for Incontinence related symptoms is 3 years or longer. Don’t postpone seeing your physician if you are dealing with some form of Incontinence, treatment options may be available to you.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

Stress
Leakage of small amounts of urine during physical movement (coughing, sneezing, exercising).

Urge
Leakage of large amounts of urine at unexpected times, including during sleep.

Functional
Untimely urination because of physical disability, external obstacles, or problems in thinking or communicating that prevent a person from reaching a toilet.

Overflow
Unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder.

Mixed
Usually the occurrence of stress and urge incontinence together.

Transient
Leakage that occurs temporarily because of a condition that will pass (infection, medication).

Practical Tips for Fecal Incontinence
     *	Take a backpack or tote bag containing cleanup supplies  
        and a change of clothing with you everywhere.
     *	Locate public restrooms before you need them so you know 
        where to go.
     *	Use the toilet before heading out.
     *	If you think an episode is likely, wear disposable 
        undergarments or sanitary pads.
     *	If episodes are frequent, use oral fecal deodorants to 
        add to your comfort level.
Incontinence Facts
     *  Urinary incontinence is common in women.
     *	All types of urinary incontinence can be treated.
     *	Incontinence can be treated at all ages.
     *	You need not be embarrassed by incontinence.