Urinary Incontinence Devices for the Elderly
If you are growing older, you might be dealing with urinary incontinence. Whether you are a CDPAP caregiver, caring for a family member who is incontinent or trying to manage your incontinence while growing older, some products can help. First, learn more about incontinence, including prevention strategies, and then go over the best products.
What Is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the medical term used for the loss of bladder control. Basically, that means you cannot control your bladder, so you have accidents. These accidents can occur when awake and while sleeping.
Next, let’s look at who is at the highest risk for urinary incontinence.
Who Is at Risk for Urinary Incontinence?
You are more likely to develop urinary incontinence if you’re in a high-risk group, like women, the elderly, and smokers. First, let’s explore why women are more likely to become incontinent.
With risk factors that include pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and anatomical differences, women have a greater risk for developing urinary incontinence. On the other hand, prostate gland problems in men can lead to urinary incontinence, so both genders are at risk. However, the risk is greater for women.
Loss of bladder and urethra muscle strength is a normal part of aging. Unfortunately, these changes reduce how much urine the bladder can hold. Also, the changes make it easier for the bladder to release involuntarily. That’s why so many older adults become incontinent.
People With Certain Diseases
Diabetes and various neurological diseases can increase your risk of losing control of your bladder. You are at high risk for incontinence if you have:
· Multiple sclerosis
· A brain tumor
Also, your risk increases if you have suffered a:
· Spinal injury
If you are overweight, the excess fat puts pressure on the bladder and the muscles surrounding it. The pressure weakens the muscles, and then you can lose control. The loss of control will most likely happen when you sneeze or cough.
Those With a Family History
Does your mother, father, or another close relative have urinary incontinence? If so, you are more likely to develop it as well.
Cigarette smoke irritates the bladder when you inhale, weakening it. Also, smoking can make you cough. Coughing increases the pressure on the irritated bladder, often leading to leakage.
If you have incontinence, treatment is important. Next, let’s look at what can happen if you don’t seek treatment.
What Happens If Incontinence Is Left Untreated?
If you or a loved one has urinary incontinence, you might wonder if you should treat it or not. Failing to treat it can lead to numerous problems, starting with skin issues.
If you’re living with urinary incontinence, you likely spend lots of time in wet clothes and on wet bedding. Being wet for long periods of time can cause significant skin problems, including:
Once skin problems start, they’re hard to get rid of, especially if you’re still dealing with urinary incontinence.
Urinary Tract Infections
If you have urinary incontinence, you are also at an increased risk of developing urinary tract infections. In many instances, the bladder doesn’t empty all the way when people are incontinent. This can cause urinary tract infections, which can cause kidney damage.
Serious Health Problems
It’s also possible that you are experiencing urinary incontinence because you have a urinary tract infection or another medical condition. Instead of being the primary issue, incontinence is a symptom of a bigger health problem. If you ignore the incontinence, the underlying health condition could get much worse.
Personal and Social Problems
Untreated urinary incontinence can actually harm your quality of life. First, you might find yourself living with the fear of having an accident around others. That can make you feel depressed and cause you to cut off contact with loved ones.
As you become more depressed, you’re also less likely to be active. Also, you might see activity as a trigger for incontinence, so you choose not to exercise or even go for a walk. Then, you can develop mobility issues and other health problems due to inactivity.
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent urinary incontinence. These steps can help, even if you are currently incontinent.
Prevention of Urinary Incontinence
While you cannot control your family history or aging, you can take steps to prevent or lessen the risk of developing incontinence. First, you can reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy weight.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Keeping your weight within the normal range is one of the best ways to prevent urinary incontinence. Plus, it’s effective in improving bladder control. If you currently have accidents when coughing and sneezing, lowering your body mass index can help.
Maintaining a healthy weight can also help you if you have diabetes. If you do, it could be the reason you’re incontinent. This can be due to:
· Diabetes medications
· Nerve damage from high glucose levels
· Excessive thirst
· Urinary tract infections
Once you reach your ideal weight, you’ll likely notice your diabetes is under control. Then, you might be able to reduce your medications.
Practice Pelvic Floor Exercises
Your pelvic floor muscles provide much-needed support to the:
Essentially, these muscles prevent urine from leaking. However, when they weaken, it’s harder for them to do their job. Thus, pelvic floor muscle exercises can help you prevent or treat incontinence.
Kegel exercises are a common choice for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. You will contract the muscles in your pelvic floor for five seconds. Then, you’ll release and rest for five seconds before repeating it. You can do three sets of 10, spread out throughout the day.
There’s a myth that Kegel exercises are just for women, but both men and women can benefit. In both cases, you can identify your pelvic muscles by urinating. Then, stop urinating part way through and pay attention to the muscles that engage. Those are the muscle you want to target when doing Kegels.
Avoid Bladder Irritants
Irritating your bladder can lead to incontinence, so avoid all irritants. Common bladder irritants include:
· Acidic foods
Eat More Fiber
Eat a diet rich in fiber to reduce your risk of constipation. When you’re constipated, your bowel can press up against your bladder, causing urine to leak. You will also have to urinate more frequently if you’re constipated because the pressure on the bladder reduces the amount of urine it can hold.
Since smoking irritates your bladder and the surrounding muscles, you should avoid it. If you currently smoke, now is a good time to quit, even if you still have bladder control. By stopping now, you can avoid some of the damage. In addition, quitting can help if you are currently incontinent.
If you or a loved one suffers from urinary incontinence, you can use products to help. First, make sure there isn’t any underlying issue. Then, you can manage the incontinence with the right products.
Best Products for Urinary Incontinence
Using products can help you avoid the problems caused by untreated urinary incontinence. You can stay dry, socialize without fear, and more when using these products, starting with disposable sheet protectors.
Disposable Sheet Protectors
You don’t want an accident to end up on your sheets. Fortunately, you can avoid this problem by using disposable sheet protectors. Disposable incontinence bed pads are a popular choice. You place the pad underneath you on the bed, and then it will soak up moisture if you urinate while sleeping.
You can use adult diapers to absorb urine when you have accidents. If you use diapers, make sure you use a barrier cream to prevent skin rashes. Also, change the diaper as soon as you go to the bathroom. Otherwise, the moisture can hurt your skin, even if you use a barrier cream.
Protective underwear is also an option. Often called pull-ups, protective underwear is discreet, so you can wear it when you’re out without feeling self-conscious.
Protective underwear locks in urine, but it can’t hold as much as an adult diaper. Thus, many people choose to wear protective underwear when out and then change to a diaper when going to sleep for the night.
If you have problems with leaks but don’t lose control of your entire bladder, you can wear liners. Liners, or disposable pads, attach to your underwear and soak up fluid. As with diapers and protective underwear, you need to change your liner as soon as it gets wet.
A mattress protector is also a must-have if you are incontinent. You’ll put this on your bed just like any other mattress pad. However, it will soak up urine through the night. You can find mattress protectors that can absorb up to six cups of urine in one location, so you won’t have to worry about ruining your mattress.
Get Help for Incontinence
If you have incontinence, you aren’t alone. Countless men and women suffer from the condition, and help is available. First, make sure you don’t have an underlying health condition. Then, use incontinence products so you can socialize and sleep without worrying about going to the bathroom.