Bowel and Bladder Incontinence
What is Incontinence?
Incontinence typically means a loss or lack of control over the bladder and/or bowel, which results in urine and/or stool leakage.
Find out more about incontinence, including the different types of urinary incontinence, caregiving for those living with incontinence, and incontinence product options based on your unique needs.
Urinary Incontinence & the Urinary System
In a healthy and normally functioning body, the kidneys work to remove waste from the blood and produce urine. Urine then travels through tubes called ureters into the bladder where urine is stored until it's time to be released by urinating.
Normally, as the bladder fills with urine, nerves inside the bladder send messages to the brain alerting a need to urinate. Once the bladder nerves send a message of fullness to the brain, the brain sends a message to the sphincter muscle to release the urine from the bladder into the urethra and out of the body.
Incontinence is the result of a dysfunction somewhere in the urinary system.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Incontinence is actually a symptom and not a disease in itself. There are numerous potential causes or related conditions that can create a dysfunction in a normally working urinary system.
Some factors may include but are not limited to:
How Widespread is Urinary Incontinence?
Incontinence is far more common than most people realize, and it affects people of all ages, including children, young adults, and senior citizens.
One estimate indicates that as many as 25 million Americans experience some form of inability to completely control their bladders or bowel movements. 1 in 5 adults over the age of 40 are affected by overactive bladder (OAB). 1 in 4 women over the age of 18 experience urine leakage episodes, and 1 in 5 women may have bladder control problems related to pelvic floor muscle weakness.
Despite urinary incontinence being incredibly common, 67% of adults between 30 and 70 years of age have never discussed their bladder health with their doctor. In fact, estimates indicate that only 12.5% of those living with bladder control issues have been diagnosed.
Two thirds of those living with urinary incontinence symptoms ignore seeking treatment or proper incontinence products to help manage their condition. It doesn't have to be this hard on you.
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. If you think you have urinary incontinence, please consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis. Do not attempt to treat your urinary incontinence on your own.
Some people turn to cutting down the fluids they drink or drastically changing their diet without seeking help. This is typically due to feelings of shame or embarrassment. However, incontinence is more common than you may think, and it can be dangerous to try to self-treat without a proper diagnosis.
The proper treatment option as prescribed by your doctor combined with the quality incontinence supplies we offer are some of the best ways to address your incontinence symptoms. With the right help, you can get back to living life on your own terms.
Ways to Manage Urinary Incontinence
For more than 40 years, we've helped people who are dealing with a wide range of reactions and feelings about their urinary incontinence.
It's complete natural to feel:
However, finding the right incontinence products for your unique needs can make all the difference in improving your quality of life and restoring your:
Incontinence Product Guidelines
These basic guidelines can help you narrow your search by incontinence product type to determine which may best suit your needs.
Very Light Incontinence
✓ Shields or Pads: Shields and bladder control pads are often a great choice for very light incontinence such as minor dribbling. Pads and shields typically attach to underwear with an adhesive strip or adhesive wings.
✓ Liners or Guards: Panty liners and male guards provide a slightly higher absorbency than pads and shield, which may be ideal for light urine leakage. Usually, these attach easily to undergarments with an adhesive strip.
✓ Disposable Pull-On Protective Underwear: Protective underwear can be an alternative to wearing regular underwear. Many product options feature soft cloth-like outer fabric while providing discreet and odor-free protection for moderate to heavy incontinence.
✓ Underpads: Protect your bedding, mattress, wheelchair, sofas, and chairs from moderate urine leakage with underpads, which are available in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels.
✓ Briefs/Diapers: Diapers and briefs are a comfortable and discreet way to get superior protection from heavy urine leakage. Easy to put on and remove, thanks to adhesive tear-away tabs.
Main Types of Urinary Incontinence
You know more about urinary incontinence now, as well as products that may help manage it. However, did you know there are actually different types of incontinence too?
A complete urodynamic exam by a doctor can determine the type of incontinence and the appropriate method of treatment.
The different types of urinary incontinence are:
How to Know if You Have Urinary Incontinence
Other Types of Incontinence
In addition to these types of incontinence, you may know or be a caregiver to someone living with what is known as functional incontinence.
People with functional incontinence may have difficulties in thinking, moving, and communicating. These difficulties prevent them from reaching a toilet in time or even accomplishing the task once there.
Sometimes, a person with functional incontinence may know they need to urinate but cannot make it to a toilet in time due to mobility issues. Others may live with a disability that doesn't allow them to get their pants down in time.
Functional incontinence appears most prevalently among the elderly and is common in nursing homes.
Common causes of functional incontinence include:
Incontinence Information for Caregivers
It takes someone special to be a caregiver. If you provide care for another person, you are caring, responsible, and selfless. However, it's natural that this situation is also challenging in many ways. While there may be no limit to the quality of care you want to offer your loved one, you must also look after yourself as well. That's part of being a good caregiver, and we salute you for all you do.
If you are caring for a loved one who suffers from incontinence, Woodbury can help make caregiving a little easier. For over 40 years, 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 Product Advisors are ready to help. Just contact us at (800-777-1111).
Signs of Incontinence to Watch For
If you care for your elderly parent or another person who may be living with functional incontinence or another type or bladder or bowel incontinence, there are a few symptoms and signs you can watch for.
One of the best ways to give care to someone who has urinary or bowel incontinence is all in finding the right products for their needs.
With the right incontinence supplies, you may find you or your loved one:
Other resources that may be helpful (citations courtesy of Attends):
Alliance for Aging Research Alzheimer's Association eparent.com Cure SMA Caregiver Action Network (CAN)
Additional Incontinence Resources(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.ca
EmbarrassingProlbems.com is a website dedicated to helping with a variety of health issues that are difficult to talk about. Learn more at: www.embarrassingproblems.com/problem/urinary-incontinence.
MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free. Learn more at: medlineplus.gov/urinaryincontinence.html.1 https://www.nafc.org/home/ 2 https://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/elderly-urinary-incontinence 3 https://www.embarrassingproblems.com/problem/urinary-incontinence/urinary-incontinence-types
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.
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 (800) 777-1111.
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 (800) 777-1111
ADDITIONAL CAREGIVER RESOURCES
Other resources that may be helpful (citations courtesy of Attends):
SHOPPING FOR YOURSELF
Selecting the proper incontinence products is essential to avoid the following:
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 (800) 777-1111 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.