Incontinence is a disorder that is caused by losing control over one’s bladder. It is characterized by a urge to urinate that is so strong that a person may fail to make it in time to the toilet. People who suffer from incontinence may also have problems controlling urine when sneezing or coughing.
Common in senior citizens – upto 30%, incontinence is known to affect older women more than men. Incontinence is broadly described in 4 categories:
Stress incontinence: It is caused usually by activities that exert pressure on the bladder and abdomen. These activites may be coughing, sneezing or even laughing.
Overflow incontinence: If the bladder is filled with more urine than it can store, the strees on the bladder can cause it to leak urine.
Urge incontinence: It is a result of muscle spasms in the bladder which may be due to reasons like strokes, kidney stones or certain infections.
Functional incontinence: People who have suffered from strokes, dementia or are immobile due to some reasons are affected with functional incontinence due to their inability to get to the toilet.
Since it mostly affects older people and is quite a serious condition, it is important to keep lookout for the symptoms for a timely diagnosis and treatment.
Feeling pain while urinating
If there is pain while urinating and you have noticed it for quite a few days everytime you urinate you may be suffering from incontinence. Visit a doctor to get the right treatment in due time.
Colour of your urine
If there is discolourtion in your urine that may not be from your medication, it could be a symptom of incontinence. Certain side effects from medicines may also have an impact on the bladder. It is best to visit your doctor for further clarifications.
Odour of the urine
If there is a certain odour to your urine it is advisable to get a urine test done for incontinence. Regular check ups is key to detecting and arresting incontinence.
Pain in the abdomen region
Spasms in the bladder is a common reason of incontinence, so if you are feeling pain in the abdomen region its best to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
What precautions can I follow on my own?
- Always make sure that you visit the toilet before going to bed. It is a good practice in general to urinate before engaging in long or strenuous activities, work or otherwise.
- Start by monitoring and limiting your fluid intake especially coffee, alcohol and aerated beverages.
- Quit smoking as it causes coughing and also takes a toll on the bladder.
- Some medications may cause incontinence as a side effect. It is important that you let the doctor know as soon as you experience that.
- Putting on adult diapers or absorbing pads in case of emergency situations may prove helpful.
- Getting in shape always helps. Start exercising, this will regulate your body functions and help regain control over your bladder.
- Visit a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. People shy away from visiting the doctors because the problem can be embarrassing for some people; do not postpone or avoid visiting the doctor. Ask about medications like Detrusitol and Vesicare that are known to help people with incontinence.