Solutions from Kerr Medical

Although incontinence can occur at any age, it's often a challenge for seniors, particularly if they struggle with mobility issues. Managing incontinence starts with understanding the underlying causes, then exploring tactics for minimizing its impact on the quality of life.

Common Causes of Incontinence in Seniors

Numerous reasons can cause urinary incontinence, where a person accidentally leaks urine. From a medical perspective, incontinence often happens because the muscles in and around the bladder don't work correctly.  As a result, something as ordinary as a sneeze, a laugh, or lifting a box can trigger leakage.

The weakening of bladder muscles or malfunctions in the bladder can result from:

  • side-effects of medications
  • short-term illnesses such as urinary tract infections or constipation
  • pelvic organ prolapses where organs shift out of their normal position
  • nerve damage from diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's, strokes, or multiple sclerosis
  • injuries to the nerves or muscles after surgery
  • in men, an enlarged prostate gland can inhibit voiding the bladder completely, leading to leakage

Incontinence can also occur among elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer's who may not realize they need to void their bladder or who can't find the bathroom in time. Arthritis can slow movement, too, preventing seniors with reasonable bladder control from getting to the restroom in time.

An evaluation by a physician will help determine a management plan for incontinence. You (as a caregiver) or your senior patient will need to provide a medical history and medication use. Be sure to include details about the incontinence, such as when it occurs, how often, how much, and if other symptoms are present. The doctor will likely conduct tests for urinary tract infections and kidney function and measure how well the patient empties his or her bladder.

Helping Seniors Manage Incontinence

Depending on the results of the medical exam, a senior dealing with incontinence may benefit from one or more of the following options:

  • medications that act on the bladder muscles
  • injections to thicken tissues around the bladder opening
  • behavioral techniques including bladder training, scheduled bathroom trips, fluid-intake management, or dietary changes to reduce consumption of food and drink that can contribute to bladder issues
  • pelvic floor exercises to strengthen muscles
  • surgery to improve the position of the bladder or remove blockages from an enlarged prostate
  • products to ease the inconvenience and discomfort of leaking urine like disposable pads or incontinence briefs

If you're a caregiver or have a senior parent who needs support, we recommend these additional tactics to minimize the chances of incontinence:

  • reduce intake of caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, or soda which can increase urination
  • make sure the path to the bathroom is clutter-free and easy to navigate, with a night light for evening use
  • encourage regular bathroom breaks
  • invest in underwear that's easy to put on and pull down
  • carry or wear incontinence products when away from home

Contact Kerr Medical for Support with Incontinence

The Urology Care Foundation estimates that between 25 and 33 percent of men and women in the U.S. suffer from urinary incontinence. Solutions are available to ease the distress and discomfort of incontinence for every patient, including seniors. After talking with a physician about a recommended treatment plan, visit Kerr Medical's online store or call us at 888.254.3444 to order incontinence support products.

 

Reference sources:
https://www.seniorliving.org/health/incontinence/
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/urinary-incontinence-older-adults
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/bed-wetting-in-elderly-133823.htm
https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-incontinence