Incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is common and sometimes embarrassing. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to a toilet in time.

Though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence isn’t an inevitable consequence of aging. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. For many people, simple lifestyle changes or medical treatment can ease discomfort or stop urinary incontinence.

Whether incontinence is temporary or of a longer duration, individuals experiencing very light to heavy levels of incontinence will want to keep doing the activities they love and enjoy. That means the products they select should allow individuals to continue their lifestyle with confidence and security.

There are five types of incontinence:

  • Stress Incontinence – The leaking of urine caused by pressure or stress on the lower stomach muscles from coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even mild exercise. Stress incontinence is very common in women.
  • Urge Incontinence – Often referred to as an Overactive Bladder, this describes the sudden and often uncontrollable need to urinate.
  • Mixed Incontinence – A combination of stress and urge
  • Overflow Incontinence – The constant dribbling of urine caused by an overfull bladder
  • Functional Incontinence – The inability to get to the washroom due to physical limitations or reduced mobility.

Urinary incontinence isn’t a disease. It can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or physical problems. A thorough evaluation by your doctor can help determine what’s behind your incontinence.

Women are more statistically prone to incontinence. In women, incontinence is caused by a number of factors including weakened pelvic muscles due to childbirth or previous surgeries and thinning and drying of the vagina tissues after menopause.

In men, it can be caused by an enlarged prostrate gland or sometimes following prostrate surgery. Certain medications can also cause incontinence. Functional incontinence is directly related to physical or mental limitations resulting in the inability to get to the washroom or confusion as to where it is.

Many people are embarrassed and uncomfortable talking about this condition. In reality, it is far more common than people realize and most conditions are manageable.

First and foremost you should talk to your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis for your symptoms. Surgery may be an option. If surgery is not an option, a person can lead a normal life with medication and/or the use of quality incontinence products.

Here’s what else you can do:

  • Lose weight (if necessary). This will take some of the pressure and stress of the lower stomach muscles
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. Drink decaffeinated tea and coffee: avoid chocolate and spicy foods
  • Avoid constipation by drinking plenty of fluids
  • Local estrogen replacement (vaginal creams or tablets) for women is sometimes helpful
  • Kegel exercises are useful for stress and urgency incontinence as they help suppress the urge to void. To locate the right muscles pretend you are stopping the flow of urine or gas without using your stomach or leg muscles. Hold and squeeze these muscles for 10 seconds. These exercises should be done 6 to 8 times a day in sets of 20. Do not do these exercises on the toilet as you may stop your bladder from emptying properly
  • Bladder retraining may also help. Start out by voiding at set intervals such as every hour, whether you feel the need to go or not. Gradually lengthen the time between voiding by 15 to 30 minutes each week until you can comfortably last two to three hours between voids
  • Use the proper bladder control products for your level of incontinence. The proper products will allow for increased freedom and comfort

Home Comfort Care Services features a full line of comfortable and absorbent products to help with very light to maximum bladder and bowel control protection.