Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. For many people, it is a subject that is not easy to discuss, however, it’s important to realize you’re not alone and that there is no shame. Often people think it is issue that only affects women, but in matter of fact, it can affect all genders. According to Caring Village, 18 million women and 3.4 million men are affected by urinary continence, although the prevalence is rising among older adult men
Below are the different types of urinary incontinences:
- Stress incontinence – leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh
- Urge incontinence (overactive bladder) – A strong urge to go to the bathroom even if your bladder is not full. Often times you do not make it
- Mixed incontinence – combination of stress and urge incontinence. Many women as well as men post-prostate surgery can experience this.
- Overflow incontinence – leaking urine when the bladder is too full but you do not feel the need to empty. This is often due to an enlarged prostate in men, women can experience it but it is less common.
- Functional incontinence – usually nothing wrong but perhaps the bathroom is too far away or you cannot get out of bed at night.
- Reflex incontinence – usually related to a spinal cord injury or similar issue.
Urinary incontinence is not something you have to live with. There are many things you can do to help decrease or mitigate your incontinence.
What You Can Do
- Keep a bladder diary, which is a record of all you eat and drink, with the times and keep track of the times you urinate or leak urine during the day.
- Consider non-caffeinated beverages and non-alcoholic drinks, as ingesting caffeinated beverages can increase the need to urinate.
- Drink water. Many people decrease their liquid intake thinking it will decrease the need to pee, when in reality it makes it worse as concentrated urine irritates the bladder. Void on a timed schedule
- Do Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles.
- Use protective products such as a skin barrier cream to prevent skin breakdown; incontinence underwear or liners. Carry spares when you go out.
Speaking to a specialized continence nurse for additional assistance can help; Nightingale Medical can facilitate this upon request (fees may apply).