Incontinence is the lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation. In this article, we will focus more on urinary incontinence. Also called overactive bladder, the person with urinary incontinence loses control of the urinary sphincter to hold urine, thus allowing occasional leakage of urine anytime of the day.
Types of Incontinence
There are several types of urinary incontinence and the underlying causes that are connected to it.
Stress incontinence happens when the person is unable to control urine passage especially when they are in situations that increase physical stress and pressure in the abdomen and bladder. Examples are during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or having sex. It can occur in any age group, however, it’s the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-age women. Physical changes of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can lead to weakening of the pelvic floor, allowing increase chances of developing stress incontinence.
Urge incontinence is the wet form of overactive bladder where the person have a sudden and urgent need to void and is unable to hold long enough until they can reach the toilet. Medical conditions affecting nerve signals to control urination and damage to the muscles can trigger inappropriate spasms creating a feeling of a fullness and uncomfortable sensation to urinate. Examples of these medical conditions are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.
Overflow incontinence gives the person the feeling that his bladder is never empty and may not also sense that it is full thus will lose urine without noticing. This condition is most common among men where their prostate gland can increase in size and blocks the flow of urine. It can also happen in women due to weak bladder muscles, a blocked urethra, pelvic organ prolapse, scar tissue or presence of kidney stones.
Functional incontinence does not entail nerve and muscle problems rather it is related to the inability of the person to go to the toilet to urinate accordingly because of physical or mental health issues. Examples are Parkinson’s disease an arthritis where movement restricts them to go to the toilet and urinate appropriately. Another example is Alzheimer’s disease or dementia where persons are unable to locate the toilet due to forgetfulness and other mental incapacities.
Total incontinence is the complete loss of urinary control caused by severe injury of anatomical abnormalities. Persons who have experienced severe spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, vesicovaginal fistula where there is an abnormal connection between the urinary tract and the vagina are found to have total incontinence.
Importance of seeing your Doctor
If you have symptoms early on, it is critical to go see your doctor and have yourself checked to determine if you have an incontinence problems. Getting diagnosed is the first step to treatment.
During your visit to the doctor, a routine physical examination and medical history interview will be obtained. In the interview, you will be asked if you are currently taking medications that can affect urination, has recently been sick or experienced any injury that can be attributed to the problem of urinary incontinence. You will also undergo further laboratory tests to include urine and blood test and tests that measure how well you empty your bladder such as cystometry, urodynamic tests, and uroflowmetry.
You will also be asked by your doctor to keep track of your urination by keeping a daily diary to record the number of times you urinate and times you leak urine. If the problems are severe, your primary care doctor will make a referral to a Urologist for further evaluation and treatment.
Taking control of the problem
Once all the tests come in, your doctor will be able to interpret and provide the right diagnosis to your problem. Treatments will include medications, use of medical devices, and even surgery to manage a type of urinary incontinence. Other things that the doctor recommends is the use of absorbent pads or adult diapers.
Nowadays, people with urinary incontinence much prefer to use absorbent pads than having a urinary catheter on them. Especially with the more active group of individuals who are still considering performing more activities and being in contact with their social circle, wearing absorbent pads prevents them the embarrassment and inconvenience associated with inadequate preparation or lack of precaution in taking a toilet break.
Gina was experiencing urinary incontinence for 3 months until she finally decided to see her doctor. She can’t control her urination and she sometimes end up wetting in her car while driving. “It was really an ordeal for me because I need to find a rest room where I can clean up and change my underwear. If this happens, my other obligations, such as client meetings and other important appointments were put in compromising situation.”
Gina was diagnosed with urge incontinence due to her type 2 diabetes mellitus. She was given some medications and was advised to wear absorbent pads. “At first, I was hesitant because it still did not sink in to me the relative implications of my condition. Well, basically, I am in denial and cannot accept that I am going to wear adult diapers. But after I received a complete and thorough health teaching by the Nurse Educator at the doctor’s office, I finally decided to embrace this lifestyle. And it really did wonders on my life.”
Finding the Right One for You
There are many types of absorbent pads in the market today. Finding the right product for you can be a problem especially if this is the first time that you will use it. The most convenient way, of course, is going to your local pharmacy and ask for the mot known adult diaper that you can instantly wear without thinking of proper size, comfort, and absorbency level. Later, you are likely to find that the quick fix is unsatisfactory.
It’s a Good thing that, Abena has a wide range of absorbent pads and related products that are uniquely tailored to each person’s characteristics. The following are some of the Abena products that we provide:
Shaped continence aids
All-in-one continence aids
Continence aids for juniors
Pull up continence aids
Belted continence aids
Continence aids for men
Regular skin care is highly encouraged if you are wearing absorbent pads. Abena has also recommended products for this regimen.
Should you need to try our products, we have some selected samples in our website and these can be shipped to you at a cost of $10 delivery to a host of regions throughout Australia. Feel free to ask me for advice via Chat. Its quick and easy and you don’t need worry or feel embarrassed as I have worked as a nurse and was able to provide the information that you wish to obtain.
Katherine Bengan, RN MSN.