You are here: Home > Health Articles > About Incontinence

What is Incontinence?

"Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine and/or feces at an inappropriate moment or in an inappropriate place. The leakage volume can vary from very small to considerable. Incontinence is not an illness; it is a symptom that indicates a disturbance in your body functions."

Association of Continence Advisors (ACA)

Bladder control problems usually happen when the muscles are either too weak or too active. If the muscles keeping your bladder closed are weak, you may have accidents when you sneeze, laugh or lift a heavy object. This is called stress incontinence. If the bladder muscles are too active, you could feel a strong urge to urinate even when you have little urine in your bladder. This is called urge incontinence or overactive bladder. There are other causes of incontinence as well, such as prostate problems, pregnancy, stroke, diabetes and nerve damage.

Treatment of incontinence depends on the problem type you have and what will best fit your lifestyle. Treatments include simple exercises, medicines, special devices or procedures prescribed by your doctor, or surgery.

What Are Causes of Urinary Incontinence?

The bladder has two functions; 1) to act as a container for urine and 2) to act as a pump. One’s bladder functions by receiving signals, which initiate voluntary evacuation. When these signals are not being received properly, the bladder acts involuntarily.

Another common cause of urinary incontinence is a dysfunction(s) in the muscles that regulate urine control; the internal and external sphincter muscles. Involuntary evacuations can be a result of these dysfunctions.

What Are Causes of Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal incontinence is not as common as urinary incontinence, and, by many opinions, far more difficult to deal with. It can isolate people from their families, friends, and normal lives because of how embarrassed or wrong that person feels.

There are a large variety of causes to fecal incontinence. These causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Constipation
  • Damage to the anal sphincter muscles
  • Damage to the nerves of the anal sphincter muscles or the rectum
  • Loss of storage capacity in the rectum
  • Diarrhea
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction

Know You Are Not Alone!

Incontinence (also known as bladder weakness and overactive bladder) is not something new or rare; it’s actually quite common among people 65 through 85 years of age. Not just in America; WORLDWIDE. According to a large number of international surveys, an estimated 10-15% of all women and approximately 5% of men suffer from urinary incontinence. And according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), “More than 5.5 Million Americans have fecal incontinence. It affects people of all ages—children and adults. Fecal incontinence is more common in women and older adults.”

How can I change a loved one’s mind about getting help by wearing incontinence products?

Make sure your loved one does not think this is their fault. Incontinence is not their fault. Be honest with them. Let them know that the incontinence underwear is just a precaution in case they can’t make it all the way to the bathroom in time. Both you and your loved one want them to use the bathroom properly. This is just a way to reduce the stress. However, don’t let them have a choice about wearing the incontinence product, make it part of the daily routine.

To make it feel normal for your loved one, don’t call the incontinence supplies adult diapers or their brand name. Many people find it helpful to put the incontinence underwear next to normal underwear. This makes it more comfortable, since both types of underwear are in the same place in your loved one’s room.

How can I take care of someone with incontinence?

Each patient is different and will have different physical and mental abilities, so their requirements may be different. But here is a good start:

Prepare Yourself- Before leaving the house, make sure your loved one goes to the bathroom. Carry spare incontinence products and wipes with you wherever you go, in a purse, bag, or your car. It is also a good idea to know how accessible restrooms are where you’re going. Away-from-home facilities usually accommodate your loved one if you let them know of your concerns. It can also help if you know how to manage any medication your loved one is taking that affects their incontinence.
Establish Routines- This helps your loved one predict when they might need to go. Incontinence underwear will offer that back-up as well. In your routine, be sure to give yourself some time too, so that you can have a break and a change of scenery. In a routine, be sure that both of you stay healthy, so incorporate enough rest time and exercise, in addition to a balance diet.
Don’t be afraid to talk- Ask your healthcare professional if you have questions. Support groups for your loved one also can help them be more comfortable and find the answers you both need. Other people may have good ideas, such as how to make the right environment for your loved one, what clothing to wear, and where to put trash cans.

What are some signs that my loved one should wear incontinence products?

It’s a good idea to have your loved one start wearing incontinence products when the first major signs show that he can’t perform bathroom duties on his own. Signs of this include: not reaching the bathroom in time, forgetting where the bathroom is, confusing other objects for a toilet, and not remembering what to do in the bathroom. Less obvious indicators include: less self-esteem, anger, and withdrawing from friends and family. Multiple incidents are a good indicator that it is time to think about an incontinence product, from protective underwear to disposable pads.

How can I help loved ones sleep well?

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Limiting drinks, especially after 6 at night, will help them, since their bladder will have less pressure. Avoiding certain foods and drinks like alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, hot spices, carbonated drinks, and acidic foods and drinks will help reduce bladder irritation. Urinating twice immediately before bed can also help. However, there is no guaranteed way. The best back-up plan is an incontinence product. Choose the incontinence product that matches his or her needs, remembering that you want something that will hopefully last through the night.

Let Us Help You!

Here at Restored Living, we know how difficult it is to deal with incontinence. We know how socially and emotionally taxing it can be. And most of all, we know how difficult it is to personally cope with the problems that incontinence brings.

So let us help by providing you, our prized customer, with the best methods for dealing with incontinence. Whether you have light, moderate, or heavy incontinence, we have a product for you!

Thank you for your business, and we hope to serve you to the best of our abilities!

To view our incontinence products, please click here.