Eight Tips to Manage Urinary Incontinence

One of the cruel reminders of the later stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s is urinary incontinence.  Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine and it is a relatively common disorder among men and of women of all ages.

According to WebMd there are two types of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence which can cause leakage when you cough, sneeze, laugh and exercise.
  • Urge incontinence, which is an unexpected urge to urinate that sometimes prevents an individual from getting to the bathroom.

If incontinence is a new problem, or there is an increase in the loss of bladder control, it is advisable to make an appointment with a primary care physician.

There are several medical conditions that can cause incontinence such as a urinary tract infection, constipation, or prostrate issues.   In addition, seniors with Diabetes, Parkinson’s, and complications from a stroke may also experience urinary incontinence.

It also may be a good idea to review your medication list with a pharmacist or physician. Medications such as sleeping pills and anxiety reducing drugs can promote incontinence by relaxing the bladder muscles.

There are prescription medications available that work in conjunction with behavioral exercises.  Drugs commonly prescribed include: anticholinergics, topical estrogen, or some antidepressant medications. Seniors do not have to live with incontinence on a daily basis. Here are eight tips that may assist in managing incontinence.

  • Identify the times when the accidents occur and try setting a scheduled plan for using the bathroom.  (Usually every two hours)
  • Identify non-verbal cues for the sense of urgency such as pacing, tugging, or restlessness.
  • Select easy clothes to remove such as sweat suits, or pants with elastic waist bands.
  • Avoid coffee, cola, tea products, and alcoholic beverages before bedtime. These drinks can act as diuretics.
  • Make the bathroom a safe and easy environment.  Remove throw rugs, install grab bars, install a secure raised toilet seat, and add a night light.
  • Decide on a sticker or decal that can be placed in the kitchen and or bathroom as a reminder to use the bathroom.  (The universal  “Smile” logo is an easy one to use)
  • Stock the important incontinence products such as incontinence pads, adult briefs, and rubber sheets for the bedding.
  • Adding bladder training to your daily routine.  Bladder training involves learning to delay urination after you get the urge to go.  You may start by trying to hold off for ten minutes every time you feel the urge to urinate.

Finally, it is important to remember that you are not alone in dealing with incontinence. According to the National Association of Continence, 25 million adults have experienced periods of incontinence.  If you are experiencing incontinence, start with your primary care physician and get a treatment plan in place that will allow you to be more relaxed and comfortable.

 
 
 

About the author

I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

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