WHAT IS INCONTINENCE?
Incontinence (in-CONT-ti-nunce), or loss of bladder or bowel control, is a symptom, NOT a disease in itself.
The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and continuously produce urine, which then travels to the bladder through the ureters. The bladder is a complex organ consisting of muscle tissues that enable it to hold urine in place as necessary and to push urine through the urethra and out of the body during urination.
Simply stated, Incontinence is a problem of the urinary system.
Normally, as the bladder fills with urine, nerves inside the bladder send messages to the brain alerting you to the need to urinate. Once the bladder nerves send a message of "full" to the brain, the brain in turn sends a message to the sphincter muscle that it is time to release the urine from the bladder into the urethra and out of the body.
Incontinence, the loss of bladder control, is the result of a dysfunction somewhere in the urinary process. The dysfunction may be related to the nervous system message relay between the brain, muscles and nerves involved in urination, or it may be the result of other factors. Some may include birth defects, pelvic surgery, injuries to the pelvic region or to the spinal cord, neurological diseases, multiple sclerosis, poliomyelitis, infection, and degenerative changes associated with aging. It can also occur as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.
It is important to consult your physician for proper diagnosis of the cause of any dysfunctions of the urinary process. Remember: cutting down on the amount of fluids you drink or drastically changing your diet can be dangerous. The proper medication prescribed by your doctor combined with the quality products we offer are the best fight against incontinence--so you can get back to living the life you deserve.
HOW WIDESPREAD IS INCONTINENCE?
You are not alone and it is far more common than most people realize as it affects people of all ages ranging from children and young adults to senior citizens. 1
SOME OF THE CAUSES OF INCONTINENCE 2
BASIC TYPES OF INCONTINENCE 3
There are a number of different types of incontinence and they are important as they affect the type of treatment that can be offered to manage the condition. It is possible that you may experience symptoms of more than one type of incontinence mentioned below. A complete urodynamic exam by a doctor can determine the type of incontinence and the appropriate method of treatment.There are two main types of incontinence:
This is leakage of urine as a result of sudden stress on the bladder. Often this is caused by coughing, laughing, exercising, or lifting a heavy object. The bladder pressure as it fills with urine becomes greater than the strength of the urethra to stay closed. It is most common in young women (25–49 years of age). No one knows exactly why these muscles may become weak; some women notice the problem after childbirth or during or after menopause.
Typical Reasons for Stress Incontinence
Urge Incontinence / Overactive Bladder
The sudden need to pass urine desperately, and maybe not being able to reach the toilet in time, is a slightly different sort of incontinence called urge incontinence and overactive bladder. The cause is the bladder muscle; it starts to contract when it should be stretching to hold more urine. This is called an overactive or irritable bladder (the medical term is detrusor over activity, because the bladder muscle is called the detrusor muscle). People with urge incontinence have to pass urine often (probably more than eight (8) times a day and also during the night), but may not pass much each time.
The following causes of urge incontinence have been identified:
Some people have both types together and this is called Mixed Incontinence
Put simply, overflow incontinence is an inability to empty the bladder. The patient frequently dribbles urine, some patients constantly dribble urine (as opposed to frequently), and some experience interrupted urinary flow (start/stop urinating). This type of urinary incontinence is more common in men with prostate gland problems, a damaged bladder, or a blocked urethra. The enlarged prostate gland obstructs the bladder; the person often only manages to urinate in small trickles and has to go frequently. He may feel that his bladder is never really completely emptied, even after trying hard.
This occurs when the person knows there is a need to urinate, but cannot make it to the bathroom in time due to a mobility problem. If a person has a disability they may not be able to get their pants down in time; this would be an example of functional incontinence. The amount of urine lost may be large. Common causes of functional incontinence include:
People with functional incontinence may have difficulties in thinking, moving or communicating - these difficulties may prevent them from reaching a toilet.
Functional incontinence is more prevalent among elderly people, and is common in nursing homes.
Of note, Functional incontinence may occur when there is nothing physically wrong with the person.
Gross Total Incontinence
This either means the person leaks urine continuously all day and night, or has periodic uncontrollable leaking of large amounts of urine. The bladder is unable to store urine. The patient may have a congenital problem (was born with a defect), there may be an injury to the spinal cord, and injury to the urinary system, or there may be a fistula between the bladder and, for example the vagina.
DEALING WITH INCONTINENCE
People often find the psychological symptoms of incontinence are worse than the physical ones. The fear of having an "accident," the helpless feeling of not being in control, or the embarrassment of spotting clothing or creating an unpleasant odor tend to keep people who suffer from incontinence from getting out and freely enjoying life.
For almost 35 years we've found a wide range of reactions to incontinence. Some of the most common are:
However, the RIGHT product makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in improving daily quality of life. It can restore:
There are various levels of incontinence and a wide array of products that can be utilized to help you.
Following is a BASIC guideline to help you begin to narrow your search by garment type for what best suits your needs:
Very Light Incontinence
✓ Shields or Pads: the best choice for light incontinence. They easily and discreetly attach to undergarments with an adhesive strip.
✓ Liners or Guards: provide the higher absorbency you need for light to moderate incontinence, and attach to existing undergarments with an adhesive strip.
✓ Disposable Underwear: Soft, cloth-like outer cover can be worn instead of underwear and provides discreet, comfortable and odor-free protection for moderate to heavy incontinence.
✓ Underpads: Excellent and reliable extra protection for beds, chairs, and wheelchairs. Available in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels.
✓ Briefs/Diapers: Ultra comfortable, discreet and disposable briefs offer superior protection and confidence. Easily fasten with tape tabs.
OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON INCONTINENCE(Citations Courtesy of Attends)
The Simon Foundation for Incontinence is known worldwide for its innovative educational projects and tireless efforts on behalf of people with loss of bladder and bowel control. Learn more at www.simonfoundation.org
The National Association for Continence works to de-stigmatize incontinence, promote preventive measures, motivate individuals to seek treatment, and provide collaborative advocacy and service for those who are affected by this problem. Learn more at www.nafc.org
The Canadian Continence Foundation strives to enhance the quality of life of people who suffer from incontinence by helping them to understand their symptoms and empowering them to seek help. Learn more at www.canadiancontinence.ca1 http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/ 2 http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/caregiving/treatment-options-for-the-elderly-and-disabled/ 3 http://www.embarrassingproblems.com/biography/13. Citation from Diane Newman, Co-Director of the Penn Center for Continence and Pelvic Health, Division of Urology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, in Philadelphia.
HOW NEEDS CHANGE BY AGE
"Incontinence is a common part of aging but it is never normal," says Dr. Lisa Rosenberg, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh's geriatric department. "Because it is so common, people think that they should accept it. In almost all cases, it is something a well-trained physician or nurse practitioner can help with. We can actually cure most of those people." 1
Urinary incontinence is more common among women than men. 10% to 30% of American women/girls aged 15-64 years are thought to suffer from it, compared to between 1.5% and 5% of men. The Department of Health, UK, estimates that 20% of all women over the age of 40 are affected by urinary incontinence.
Currently, over 25 million people in North America experience incontinence. While it is not a symptom of older age, rates of incontinence do increase above age 65. One consideration often overlooked with incontinence is the very real risk and incidence of slipping and falling – an outcome that is substantially more complicated and serious with an older population.1 http://nursing-homes.aplaceformom.com/articles/elderly-urinary-incontinence
ARE YOU THE CAREGIVER?
It takes someone special to be a caregiver – someone caring, responsible, and selfless. Someone willing to take on the daily demands that caregiving can bring. We understand that this situation is challenging both physically and emotionally both for your loved one and for you. While there may be no limit to the care you want to give your loved one, it is important to look after yourself as well. If you don't take time out for yourself and look after your own needs, you will find that the job of caregiving becomes harder and more tiring and eventually the very person you are caring for will suffer too. Looking after you is all part of being a good caregiver. We salute you for your efforts and your dedication.
If you are caring for a loved one who suffers from incontinence, Woodbury can help make caregiving a little easier. Since 1980 we have supported and helped thousands of family members and caregivers reduce their stress, lessen the challenges and simplify the process of caring for loved ones who struggle with incontinence. Our expert advisors are always available to solve your problems, give advice, and share their learning from almost 35 years of specialized focus in this arena. You should feel confident to call us at .
SIGNS OF INCONTINENCE(Courtesy of Tena)
There are several signs of incontinence. Among the most common signs are:
SLIPPING & FALLING: AN IMPORTANT RISK NOT OFTEN CONSIDERED 1
The incidence of slips-and-falls caused by incontinence leakage is real, especially with a more aged population. The ramifications and complications from falls are dramatically increased with this group.
Urinary incontinence can contribute to fall risk in several ways:
Factors contributing to increased risk of falling include:
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONE ABOUT INCONTINENCE(Courtesy of Tena)
No one wants to be incontinent and this may be one of the most difficult discussions you have with a loved one. You may be the one who must start the conversation. It is important to be patient, sympathetic and informed.
At first your loved one may deny being incontinent and try to hide the fact. Stress the importance of honesty and willingness to seek help. You need to be supportive of the loved one's feelings and express your willingness to help.
You may want to introduce the fact of how common incontinence is today and how many people have successfully maintained and enjoyed their lifestyle while coping with incontinence.
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT COSTS?(Courtesy of Tena)
Cost-effective care isn't just about the price of a particular product; it means choosing the right size and absorbency and design of product for the individual you are caring for, and making sure it is put on correctly for their comfort and security so you and your loved one are emotionally, physically and economically better off.
The most important part of good incontinence care is to ensure both the physical and emotional comfort of your loved one. The key to this is using the products that provide maximum care and prevent the negative side effects that incontinence can cause. Things like leaks, slips and falls, waking to a damp mattress or skin irritation have physical, emotional and economic consequences.
You can't put a price on the care you give your loved one, but you can make choices about incontinence care that impact both the quality and the economics of that care.
Because we have evaluated virtually every incontinence product in the market almost 35 years, we have found over and over that our clients that use quality products that fit properly:
Contact an expert Woodbury Personal Advisor at
ADDITIONAL CAREGIVER RESOURCES
Other resources that may be helpful (citations courtesy of Attends):
Alliance for Aging Research Alzheimer's Association American Self-Help Clearinghouse The Caregiver Partnership Exceptional Parent Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA)1 http://www.seekwellness.com/incontinence/fall_risk.htm
SHOPPING FOR YOURSELF
Selecting the proper incontinence products is essential to avoid the following:
Try before you buy. How better to determine what works for your needs other than to try samples of different alternatives? You will be amazed at the differences in product performance, fit, comfort and concealment as you experience the Woodbury methodology of optimizing your product selection.
To find that perfectly matched product, call Woodbury at or click here
Beyond the core incontinence products (e.g. briefs, protective underwear, pads, liners,...) there are numerous effective products and methods one can use to help address and reduce skin breakdown.
To find that perfect combination of core incontinence products and accessories, call Woodbury at or click here1 An exudating wound is one that is leaking blood cell platelets and other fluids as it heals. Depending on the severity of the wound, the exact composition of wound exudate varies.