Activities of Daily Living - Basic, Blog, Home Care Providers

Dealing with Incontinence

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Continence

Continence involves maintaining complete control over urination and/or defecation.

Incontinence is the condition in which you fail to maintain complete self-control over urination and defecation. You can experience urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, or both.

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Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (bladder incontinence) is the unexpected and involuntary leaking of urine. There are several types of urinary incontinence:

Urinary Incontinence
Type Description
Stress Incontinence Urine leaks when pressure is exerted on bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.
Urge Incontinence A sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine.
Overflow Incontinence Frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that does not empty completely.
Functional Incontinence Inability to make it to the toilet or get clothes undone in time due to a physical or mental impairment.
Mixed Incontinence Combination two or more types of urinary incontinence.


Urinary incontinence is a symptom, not a disease. It can be the result of everyday habits, underlying medical conditions, or physical problems. If you are experiencing urinary incontinence symptoms, a thorough doctor’s examination may help you to determine the source.

 

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 Temporary Urinary Incontinence


Certain food, beverages, and medications act as diuretics, and could be stimulating your bladder and increasing your volume of urine. Examples may include:

Category Diuretic Examples
Beverages Alcohol
Caffeinated drinks
Carbonated drinks
Sparkling water
Foods Artificial sweeteners
Chili peppers
Chocolate
Citrus fruits
Foods high in acid
Spicy foods
Sugary foods
Vitamin C in large doses
Medications Blood pressure and heart medications
Sedatives
Muscle relaxants

Being overweight and smoking can also contribute to urinary incontinence.


Urinary incontinence may be caused by easily treatable medical conditions such as urinary tract infections and constipation.

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 Persistent Urinary Incontinence

Underlying physical problems or changes may lead to persistent urinary incontinence. Examples include:

  1. Aging
  2. Enlarged prostrate
  3. Hysterectomy
  4. Menopause
  5. Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, as stroke, brain tumor, or injuries, such as to the spine
  6. Obstruction from a tumor or urinary stones
  7. Previous pregnancy / childbirth
  8. Prostate cancer

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Addressing Urinary Incontinence

Treatment of urinary incontinence is dependent on type and severity.

Changes in health and lifestyle habits can help to reduce the likelihood of and control urinary incontinence. Examples include:

  1. Urinate regularly.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Exercise your pelvic floor muscles.
  4. Monitor fluid intakes. Avoid bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol.
  5. Pay attention to your diet. Eat more fiber, which can prevent constipation, a cause of urinary incontinence. Avoid bladder irritants such as acidic foods.
  6. Do not smoke, or seek help to stop smoking.

Discuss with your doctor means to address persistent urinary incontinence.
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 Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence (bowel incontinence), is the unexpected and involuntary leaking of feces. There are several types of fecal incontinence:

Fecal Incontinence
Type Description
Stress incontinence Feces leaks when you exert pressure on your rectum by bending, exercising, or lifting something heavy.
Urge incontinence A sudden, intense urge to defecate followed by an involuntary loss of feces.
Flatus incontinence You have the sensation of a full rectum, but the body’s sensation mechanisms do not work properly and cannot tell whether it is gas or stool.
Passive incontinence The brain receives no urge instruction to go to the toilet. You are unaware that the rectum is full and ready to empty. The lack of sensations in your back passage prevents conscious control of bowel movements and stool is passed without your knowledge.
Anal and rectal incontinence Inability to control the anal sphincter muscles due to damage to the nerves, the rectum’s structure, or the muscles in this area.
Overflow incontinence Results from a blockage in the colon caused by constipation. The initial blockage, caused by a stool that is stuck, blocks yet more stool. Only watery feces can pass around it. That discharge then leaks out because it is so hard to control.
Functional incontinence A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet or getting your pants or other clothes undone in time.
Mixed incontinence Combination two or more types of fecal incontinence

 [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text text_larger=”no”] Fecal incontinence is most commonly caused by damage to the muscles around the anus (anal sphincters) . Women are affected by accidental bowel leakage about twice as often as men, as vaginal childbirth can damage the anal sphincters or their nerves.


Other potential causes of fecal incontinence as:

  1. Diarrhea, often caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, certain medications, infection or irritable bowel syndrome.
  2. Impacted stool, often due to severe constipation.
  3. Hemorrhoids, which prevent the muscles around your anus from closing completely.
  4. Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  5. Neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, impacting your rectum, anus, or pelvic wall,
  6. Nerve damage impacting your rectum, anus, or pelvic wall, resulting from diabetes, spinal injury, or other factors.
  7. Radiation damage to the rectum, such as after treatment for prostate cancer
  8. Cognitive impairment, due to stroke, advanced Alzheimer’s disease or other factors
  9. Functional impairment due to arthritis or other factors


Treatment of fecal incontinence is dependent on type and severity.
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Addressing Fecal Incontinence

Treatment of fecal incontinence is dependent on type and severity.


Changes in health and lifestyle habits can help to reduce the likelihood of and control urinary incontinence. Examples include:

  1. Avoid foods that contribute to bowel irritation.
  2. Eat 20 to 30 gram of fiber each day to make stool more bulky and easy to control
  3. For constipation:
    • Drink several glasses of water each day.
  4. For diarrhea:
    • Avoid caffeine
    • Consider medicines to reduce the number bowel movements and to urge to move the bowels may help.
      1. Imodium
      2. Lomotil
      3. Hyoscyamine
  5. Exercise your pelvic floor muscles (Kegel exercises).
  6. Train your bowels by attempting to have bowel movements around the same time each day to help prevent accidents in between


Your doctor may discuss with you and perhaps recommend non-surgical or surgical procedures if your bowel incontinence is not helped by noninvasive treatments.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text text_larger=”no”]

Incontinence Products

While you are working to rid yourself of the incontinence, you will need to address the symptoms in order to be able to continue your daily living activities, including your social ones.

Incontinence products include:


Product Category Product Examples Primary Urinary Incontinence Addressed Primary Fecal Incontinence Addressed
Remote toileting receptacles Bedpans
Urinals
Commodes
Commode/Shower rolling chairs
Urge
Overflow
Functional
Urge
Passive
Anal and Rectal
Overflow
Functional
Bed, wheelchair, and furniture protective pads Under pads
Bed pads and mattress protectors
Stress
Urge
Overflow
Functional
Stress
Urge
Flatus
Passive
Anal and rectal
Overflow
Functional
Incontinence outerwear Pants with elastic waistbands
Trousers with detachable crotch
Functional Functional
Collection and regulator devices Urine bag pants
Bladder control pads
Penile clamps
Stress
Urge
Overflow
Functional
Stress
Urge
Flatus
Passive Anal and rectal
Overflow
Functional
Personal protective pads, liners, and garments Feminine hygiene pads
Pant liners
Disposable undergarments
Belted undergarments
Adult briefs
Pull-Up underwear
Protective underwear
Stress
Urge
Overflow
Functional
Stress
Urge
Flatus
Passive
Anal and rectal
Overflow
Functional
Exercise and strengthening devices Kegel balls
Pelvic-floor muscle trainer
Stress
Urge
Overflow
Functional
Stress
Urge
Anal and Rectal
Overflow
Functional
Supplements and over-the-counter medicines Anti-diarrhea products
Bladder control supplements
Hemorrhoid products
Laxatives for constipation Prostrate support supplements
Urge
Overflow
Urge
Overflow
Clean-up and sanitation Vinyl Gloves
Hand wipes
Cleaning products
Detergents
Liquid sanitizers
Refuse containers and bags
All All

You can find a sampling of incontinence products to help you to prepare for bouts of incontinence, and to clean up after any accidents that occur, by clicking on this link.

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