One of the most prevalent problems that seniors deal with as they get older is incontinence. As people get older, their bodies undergo many changes. Incontinence, which is the inability to control bowel or bladder movements, can be a humiliating and challenging issue to manage. The issue of seniors and incontinence merits more discussion because it affects so many senior citizens. This blog will explain what incontinence is, why it affects seniors more frequently, and how to treat it.
What are the Types of Incontinence?
Stress incontinence manifests as involuntary urine leakage accompanied by an increase in intra-abdominal pressure from activities like laughing, sneezing, coughing, or lifting. The main contributing factor is weak pelvic floor muscles, which weaken the urethra and allow the bladder and neck to open.
This occurs when an always full bladder leaks small amounts of urine. If a man's enlarged prostate is obstructing his urethra, he may have trouble emptying his bladder. Such incontinence may be brought on by spinal cord damage and diabetes.
This occurs in many older individuals with healthy bladder control. They simply struggle to get to the restroom due to conditions like arthritis or other slow-moving conditions.
This occurs when someone suddenly needs to urinate and is unable to hold it until they can use the restroom. People with diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke may experience difficulties with it.
Why is Incontinence More Common in Seniors?
There are several reasons why incontinence is more common in seniors. These include:
Weakening of the Pelvic Floor Muscles
Age-related muscle atrophy can cause incontinence because the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and urethra, can become weaker.
Enlarged Prostate Gland
With age, the prostate gland in men may enlarge, placing pressure on the urethra and increasing the risk of incontinence.
In women, the decline in estrogen levels associated with menopause can weaken the muscles that support the bladder and urethra, resulting in incontinence.
Certain Medical Conditions
Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke are a few conditions that can harm the bladder's control muscles and nerves, resulting in incontinence.
Managing Incontinence in Seniors
There are ways to manage incontinence, although it can be a difficult condition to deal with. Included are:
The pelvic floor muscles are contracted and relaxed during these exercises, which can strengthen them and enhance bladder control. Kegel exercises are simple to perform and portable. Squeeze the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine, hold for a short period, and then let go. Several times a day, repeat this exercise.
Alpha-blockers for overflow incontinence and anticholinergics for urge incontinence are a couple of drugs that can help with bladder control. These drugs ease the muscles in the bladder, which makes it simpler to control urination. Before beginning any new medication, it's crucial to speak with a healthcare professional.
Improved bladder control can be achieved by abstaining from caffeine and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and engaging in regular physical activity. It is best to avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol because they can irritate the bladder and increase the urge to urinate. In addition to helping to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, maintaining a healthy weight can ease pressure on the bladder.
Leaks can be controlled, and clothing can be safeguarded by wearing absorbent pads or underwear. Pads, briefs, and protective underwear are just a few of the many varieties of incontinence products that are available. When used in public, these products can offer discretion and peace of mind.
As a result of a prolapsed bladder or an enlarged prostate gland, surgery may occasionally be required to treat the underlying cause of incontinence. Surgery is typically a last resort and is only suggested after all other options have failed.
In addition to using these management techniques, it's critical to practice good hygiene to avoid skin irritants and infections. This entails regularly changing incontinence products and washing the genital region with mild soap and water. To avoid urinary tract infections, it's also critical to maintain adequate hydration and use the restroom frequently.
Many seniors experience incontinence, but there are ways to manage it. The best course of treatment for incontinence should be discussed with a healthcare professional if you or a loved one is experiencing it. Seniors with this condition can still lead full and active lives with the right management techniques.
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