Urinary Incontinence in the Elderly – What to Know, Treatment Options, and Tips
A trip to the bathroom can easily be postponed for many people. It’s not that straightforward for the 33 million Americans who have bladder leaks on a daily basis.
Urinary incontinence in the elderly is not something to tolerate or live with. In reality, regardless of the cause, there are a plethora of effective treatments for senior incontinence. Learn about the causes, types, and treatment options, as well as other information.
Is Urinary incontinence a natural aspect of growing older?
What is urine incontinence, and how does it affect your life? According to the National Association for Continence (NAFC), involuntary urine loss is what it is. Incontinence can strike anyone at any age, but it is more common among the elderly.
Urinary incontinence in the elderly is more common as the body changes with age. According to the Urology Care Foundation, one out of every two women over 65 had bladder leakage at some point. It might be brought on by normal aging, lifestyle decisions, or a variety of health issues.
Urinary incontinence in the elderly can take several forms:
- Some people only leak urine once in a while.
- Others may leak pee on a regular basis.
- Some people have total bladder and bowel control issues.
Sources of Urinary Incontinence in the elderly
Urinary incontinence can be caused by a variety of factors, including not drinking enough water, childbirth, or a medical condition such as diabetes.
Urinary incontinence can be caused by the following health problems in both men and women:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects people
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects people.
The following are some of the most common causes of urine incontinence in women:
- Pregnancy History
- Menopause begins.
- Pelvic floor deterioration
Urinary incontinence is a typical symptom in men with prostate disorders.
What are the most common incontinence issues?
Urinary incontinence can be classified into six types:
- Urge incontinence, also referred to as an overactive bladder, is the most prevalent diagnosis. It occurs when a person has an urgent need to urinate and loses urine before reaching the restroom.
- Total incontinence, your sphincter muscle is no longer functional if you have total incontinence. Bladder leakage is uncontrollable as a result of this condition.
- Stress incontinence, this occur when the closing pressure of the bladder is overwhelmed by a rise in stomach pressure. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, climbing stairs, and lifting objects might cause belly pain. Due to pregnancy and childbirth, stress incontinence is more common among women. Men who have had prostate cancer or surgery, on the other hand, are at risk.
- Overflow incontinence, When your bladder never entirely empties, you have overflow incontinence. Sufferers have frequent urges to go and regularly leak little volumes of pee. An obstruction in the urinary tract system or a bladder that either has very weak contractions or is unable to contract at all might cause this syndrome.
- Functional Incontinence, is induced by various limitations. A person’s ability to unzip their pants fast can be hampered by neurological diseases, stroke complications, or arthritis, resulting in an accident. Elderly with functional incontinence have the urge to urinate but are unable to plan or carry out a trip to the restroom due to physical limitations.
- Mixed incontinence, this is a term that refers to incontinence that is caused by a combination of several types of incontinence. Mixed incontinence is characterized by a combination of stress and urge incontinence, particularly in women. Urge and functional incontinence can occur in adults with severe dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or neurological illnesses, as well as those who have had strokes.
How to deal with incontinence in the elderly
Your loved one may avoid going to the doctor because they are embarrassed by their mishaps. Although they may be utilizing absorbent pads or protective underwear to help, urinary incontinence is often treatable with medical care.
They may also put off seeing a doctor because they aren’t sure which one to see.
A general care physician, a geriatrician, a nurse practitioner, or a urologist are all feasible possibilities. It’s best to start with your loved one’s primary care physician if they are comfortable with him or her.
What to expect at a urinary incontinence doctor’s appointment?
You’ll almost certainly have the following items to your medical appointment:
- To rule out infection or blood in the urine, a urinalysis is performed.
- Kidney function, calcium, and glucose levels are all checked through blood testing.
- A detailed examination of your medical history
- A comprehensive physical examination, which includes a rectal and pelvic examination for women and a urological examination for men.
- A bladder diary may also be requested at the first session, or a patient may be asked to construct one before the second consultation.
They will most likely write in this journal:
- Drinks they consume and how often they urinate during the day
- How much they urinate, which is recorded using a specific measuring cup placed over the toilet.
- A description of their accidents, as well as the frequency with which they occur.
Behavioral Therapy: The initial treatment for urine incontinence in the elderly
Behavioral therapy is often the first urinary incontinence treatment for the elderly after a diagnosis is made. This could entail:
This can be accomplished by progressively increasing the time between restroom visits. Double voiding, which is when a person urinates, waits a few minutes, and then urinates again, is another option. This educates the user to completely empty their bladder.
Bathroom visits on a regular basis
For persons with movement challenges or neurological illnesses, this is typically successful, even if it involves having someone else take you to the potty.
Exercises for the muscles of the pelvic floor
These exercises, known as Kegels, strengthen the muscles that help regulate urine. Typically, these should be practiced a few times a day, every day. It can be difficult to figure out which muscles to contract, but your doctor or this step-by-step instruction to completing Kegel exercises can assist.
Management of fluids and diet
Although a change in diet will not cure urine incontinence, it will help to improve bladder control. Carbonated drinks and alcohol, for example, might put a strain on your bladder. It might be made worse by consuming coffee or tea while taking prescribed medicine. Milk, tea, honey, soda, and extremely spicy foods are all bladder irritants to avoid.
Incontinence medication for the elderly
Medications and behavioral therapies are frequently used together. Here are a few options that are frequently recommended:
Drugs that are anticholinergic or antispasmodic
These are typically used to treat urge incontinence. Vesicare®, Detrol LA®, Oxytrol skin patch®, Ditropan XL®, and Santura® are some examples. Dry mouth is the most common side effect. Blurred vision, constipation, and mental disorientation are some of the less prevalent side effects.
When incontinence is caused by a urinary tract infection or an irritated prostate gland, these are recommended.
Sudafed® (pseudophedrine) with Tofranil® (imipramine)They act by constricting muscles around the bladder and are used to treat stress urine incontinence.
View a complete list of medications used to treat incontinence in the elderly and other related diseases.
Treatment for urine incontinence in elderly women with medical devices
These medical gadgets, in addition to medicinal therapy, may be prescribed for women:
This is a tampon-like insert that a woman inserts into her urethra during activities such as exercising that are associated to her incontinence episodes. You’ll be able to urinate and bowel movements while using the insert. It’s an excellent choice for senior women who wish to stay active. It can be safely worn for up to eight hours, but it must be replaced as instructed to avoid health and hygiene hazards, much like a tampon.
Pessary is an intravaginal device that supports the bladder, comparable to a diaphragm. It is available in a variety of sizes. It will need to be removed, inspected, and cleaned by a health care provider every three months after it is installed. A single-use disposable pessary can be purchased over the counter, but it’s important to consult with your doctor or nurse practitioner to determine which choice is best for you.
Urinary incontinence surgical options
Annually, approximately 285,000 incontinence treatments are conducted, increasing 7.5 percent from 2015. If other treatments fail, surgery may be an option.
Products to help with incontinence
Having the right products on hand will give you and your loved one peace of mind in an emergency and will make incontinence care less stressful. Typical items are:
- Briefs that wick away moisture
- Briefs made of water-resistant vinyl.
- Booster pads and liners that absorb a lot of moisture
- Washcloths and wipes that can be disposed
- Penile clamp
- Bed pads that can be washed and are waterproof.
- Bed pads with absorbency
Slip-and-fall accidents are more likely to occur if they run to the restroom frequently. Make the bathroom in your home as accessible as possible. Until you find a successful cure, wear pads, protective garments, or washable underwear.
Ask for assistance
If your loved one’s incontinence is isolating them and preventing them from engaging in their favorite activities, talk to them about treatment options and encourage them to consult a doctor. Your loved one may soon be able to enjoy life more fully if they receive the necessary and appropriate treatment.