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Incontinence in Elderly

incontinenceIt is embarrassing to discuss and can severely affect the social life of a person. The psychological impact of it is such that the person may feel depressed and would not venture out. We are talking about urinary incontinence or involuntary leakage of urine. This condition can affect all ages but is mostly seen in the elderly and affects almost 30% of the elderly population.

By: Medimanage

It is embarrassing to discuss and can severely affect the social life of a person. The psychological impact of it is such that the person may feel depressed and would not venture out. We are talking about urinary incontinence or involuntary leakage of urine. This condition can affect all ages but is mostly seen in the elderly and affects almost 30% of the elderly population. Because of its common occurrence people think it a part of the normal ageing process but actually it is a condition that can be easily treated and even cured.

Incontinence happens in both the genders, but is more prominent in women. The causes can be varied from drinking too less water that weakens the bladder, to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis. In women, the causes are multiple births and menopause while for men, prostrate problems led to incontinence problems.

Types of Incontinence

Stress incontinence: It occurs whenever there is pressure on the abdomen, for instance simple actions like laughing, sneezing, getting up the chair,  that puts pressure on the abdomen causes incontinence . The cause in women is multiple births and in men, it is internal sphincter damage. Urge incontinence: Here, there is an urge to urinate before the bladder is completely full. It occurs due to diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. Functional incontinence: This occurs due to failure to get to the washroom in time to urinate. Stroke, neurological disorder like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s can cause Functional incontinence

A visit to Doctor is necessary

Your parents may feel embarrassed to talk about the problem and hence may be denying themselves of treatment. Incontinence can be easily treated and should not be concealed from doctors. Doctors will ask them to undertake few tests for the diagnosis of the condition and to begin the treatment.

Your Doctor might recommend

A urine analysis to rule out infection or blood in the urine Blood tests to check on kidney function, calcium and glucose levels A thorough discussion of one’s medical history A thorough physical exam, including a rectal exam and a pelvic exam for women and a urological exam for men.

Treatment

After the cause of incontinence has been found or confirmed, the doctor will suggest treatments through various therapies including – medication, behavioral therapy, medical devices and surgery.

Behavioral therapy

Bladder training: In this technique, you delay the urge to go the bathroom and gradually increase the time between bathroom trips. Scheduled Bathroom trips: Here you do not wait till you feel like going to the washroom but do so at small intervals. This way your bladder is empty and there are less chances of incontinence. Double voiding: Here you ensure that your bladder is completely empty by going to the washroom again after 15 minutes of visiting once.

Pelvic floor exercises: You strengthen the pelvic muscles by doing ‘Kegel’ exercises. Here you contract your pelvic muscles like you do to stop the urine. Doing these consistently over a period of time can help you to regulate your urination.

Medication:

Depending on the cause of the incontinence, the type of medication differs. If incontinence is due to infection then antibiotics can help. Hormone replacement therapy is recommended for post menopausal women and prostrate medicines for men.

When both behavioral therapy and medications fail to relieve them surgery is the last mode of treatment.To read more about Incontinence in Elderly

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