Understanding Incontinence: Causes, Complications, and Products to Help

  • Apr - 01 - 2021
  • Elixair Medical

Senior woman holding and looking at adult diaperIncontinence can be a difficult thing to face, but it’s a much more common issue for senior citizens than you might think. Understanding that you’re not alone in this difficulty, and knowing how to continue to live a full, happy life can make a huge difference in how you face your own struggles with incontinence. This article will discuss some of the common causes of incontinence, possible complications, and products that can help you to continue living life to its fullest.

Causes of Incontinence

As mentioned, incontinence is a very common problem, and it’s not exclusive to the elderly. There are many different types of incontinence as well, which can range from minor and infrequent, to constant and severe. Types of incontinence include:

  • Stress incontinence – Leaking urine when pressure is applied to the bladder, such as when sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising.
  • Urge incontinence – Having a sudden and overwhelming urge to urinate, followed by low of bladder control. This can be a result of a minor infection or a more severe disorder like diabetes or a neurological illness.
  • Overflow incontinence – Frequent leakage of urine due to a bladder that doesn’t completely empty.
  • Functional incontinence – An inability to make it to the toilet due to a separate physical or mental impairment (e.g., being unable to unbutton your pants quickly enough due to arthritis).
  • Mixed incontinence – A combination of any of the above types of incontinence (most frequently a combination of stress and urge incontinence).

Each of these types of incontinence can have different causes. As mentioned above, issues like urinary tract infections can cause temporary incontinence. Other factors that can cause temporary incontinence include certain types of foods that act as a diuretic, including alcohol, caffeine, or spicy foods. Certain medications, including sedatives and muscle relaxants, can also cause temporary loss of bladder control.

More persistent urinary incontinence can be caused by pregnancy and childbirth, which weaken the muscles needed for bladder control and damage bladder nerves. Menopause, an enlarged prostate, and other common aspects of aging also contribute to loss of bladder control. However, incontinence can also be caused by more serious factors, like prostate cancer, obstruction of the urinary tract by a tumor, urinary stones, and neurological disorders.

If you’re experiencing persistent incontinence, speak to your doctor to make sure there isn’t a more serious, underlying cause.

Possible Complications

On its surface, incontinence can seem like a fairly simple and straightforward problem. However, it’s important that you deal with your incontinence appropriately to avoid possible complications as a result of the loss of bladder control.

The two most common complications associated with urinary incontinence are skin problems and urinary tract infections. Incontinence increases your risk of developing recurring UTIs. And failing to properly clean and dry your wet skin can cause rashes, sores, and even skin infections. While incontinence itself is not directly harmful to your health, failing to properly care for yourself can be.

Helpful Products

Depending on the type of incontinence you’re experiencing and its root cause, your doctor may be able to prescribe you with certain lifestyle changes and pelvic floor exercises to reduce the frequency of your accidents. However, in general, the best way to deal with incontinence issues is to find ways to minimize its impact on your daily life and activities. Certain incontinence products can help with this.

Many adults fear that incontinence means wearing “adult diapers” every day. However, incontinence products have improved greatly over the last several years. Now, disposable briefs, undergarments, and even simple inserts and liners for your standard undergarments can provide the absorbency you need in a discreet and comfortable way. Different designs for men and women ensure a proper fit and functionality in case you need it.

If you experience frequent urges to urinate and incontinence issues at night, tuckable underpads and mattress protectors can make it easier to clean your bedding. It’s also important that you purchase skincare washes and creams that will help to reduce your likelihood of skin issues related to incontinence.

For any of the above incontinence supplies, contact Elixair Medical. We can provide you with the items you need to continue living your life comfortably and to its fullest, in spite of your struggles with incontinence. Please remember that there is no shame in incontinence, and odds are high that you know many other people who already struggle with this same issue. The best thing you can do is to speak to your doctor and deal with incontinence directly, so you can minimize the impact it has on your life.