incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine or inability to hold
oneís urine in the bladder. About one in three elderly people, or
10 million adult Americans, have a problem with bladder control.
Women are affected more often than men.
are several types of urinary incontinence:
incontinence describes the situation of a person who feels a
sudden need to urinate and then loses urine. It can be caused by
infection, stroke or other neurologic disorders, or by various
prescription drugs. Sometimes there is no detectable cause.
incontinence denotes the loss of urine when the person is
laughing, sneezing, lifting an object or otherwise exerting
herself. Itís caused by weakness in the urinary sphincter, the
muscle that is released to start voiding.
incontinence means that when the bladder is full, small
amounts of urine leak out. This can happen if a person has
bladder muscle weakness, chronic retention of urine caused by
disease (such as prostate cancer), or a blockage in the urinary
tract. It may occur if a drug the patient takes weakens the
bladderís signals to the brain. It can even accompany
incontinence means urine leaks constantly; it is usually
caused by injury.
incontinence is the loss of urinary control caused by the
personís emotional state.
incontinence, in which there are several factors or causes
involved, is also possible. For example, many older women suffer
from both urge and stress incontinence.
incontinence can be extremely embarrassing as well as unhygienic.
All too frequently, people who suffer from it are afraid to admit
they have a problem, even to their own doctor.
They may become
anxious or afraid to go out socially, and can even develop
depression. However, they should understand there are many ways to
control or even cure urinary incontinence; and that trying to ignore
it can lead to other medical problems, such as pressure ulcers and
measures required depend on the cause and type of incontinence.
Sometimes, no treatment will be needed if the root cause (infection,
for example) is cleared up.
drug treatment is required, the type of agent given will depend on
the cause of the incontinence, and such factors as whether extra
relaxation or contraction of the bladder is needed. If the
incontinence is caused by a blockage in the urinary tract, surgery
may be required.
of the other measures a physician may suggest are
frequent and regular voiding, such as every two hours
access to the toilet easier, with grab bars or other aids
adult diapers or absorbent pads or undergarments
to strengthen the muscles used in voiding (Kegel exercises)
drinks containing caffeine
a prescription drug
should know that incontinence is not just a problem they have to
learn to live with. If you have any problem with bladder control,
donít hesitate to discuss it with your doctor or another health