While elderly incontinence is common, it is not a normal health condition.
In fact, because it is so common, people will not see a doctor or health practitioner until it’s too late.
In today’s post, we will go into why you should see a doctor about you or your loved one’s incontinence and what you can do to manage the condition.
Let’s delve right into it.
What exactly is incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine.
According to the National Association of Continence, over 33 million people struggle with incontinence.
If you or your loved one are going this right now, it can feel embarrassing.
It is also common for people to feel like they have lost control when they’re faced with incontinence.
But, the good news is that, incontinence can be managed and even treated if you take the right actions.
Causes of incontinence
Urinary incontinence can be caused by several factors including:
- Stress – For people who have weak muscles in their urinary tract, coughing, sneezing or constipation could cause incontinence
- Weak bladder muscles
- Enlarged prostate
- Prostate cancer
- Childbirth – Women who have had complications of childbirth or had many children may struggle with incontinence.
- Infections in the urinary tract
- Surgery – Certain surgeries that involve the bladder, prostate or a part of the urinary tract can lead to incontinence as well.
- An obstruction along the urinary tract may also lead to incontinence. This obstruction could be a tumor or a urinary stone.
- Neurological disorders can also lead to urinary incontinence. Conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury can affect the action of nerves in the urinary tract and that can lead to incontinence.
Why you should see a doctor about elderly incontinence
As you may have deduced from the above, it’s important to see a doctor so they can rule out any serious cause.
Thus, my advice to you is that the moment you or your loved one notice incontinence, make plans to see your primary health practitioner. They will then likely refer you to a urologist or geriatric doctor.
If it is a tumor, your loved one may need to undergo treatments.
If it is an infection, antibiotics can be prescribed to deal with the issue.
For older adults that have chronic urinary incontinence or who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, behavioral therapy may prove helpful in helping to control the condition.
Whatever the case is however, if you or your loved one is struggling with incontinence, don’t think you have to struggle alone.
Talk to your doctor and plan a course of action.
Managing elderly incontinence
Talk to someone. It is hard to navigate big changes like urinary incontinence for your elderly loved one.
It’s important to be honest about those feelings and talk to somebody about it.
Also, get the right supplies. These days, you have access to a wide array of incontinence products on the market. In fact, there are products that feel just like underwear but which will keep your loved one dry. There are also special bedding supplies that will help keep your loved one dry at night. Talk to your local medical supplier about what will suit your family’s needs the best.
Remember to keep them safe. A urinary accident can lead to a small puddle that can cause falls. If your loved one is not comfortable using adult diapers, create a communication system so that it can be cleaned up quickly.
And don’t forget to continue to provide excellent perineal care.
Make it easy for your loved one to travel to the bathroom when there’s a need.
If your loved one has prescriptions for incontinence, it’s important that you encourage them to follow the regimen to prevent further complications.
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