All about incontinence

Incontinence is the involuntary loss or leakage of urine or feces. Incontinence can affect anyone and can have various causes. It is not a disease, but a symptom.

What is Incontinence?

Incontinence is the involuntary loss or leakage of urine or feces. Incontinence can affect anyone and can have various causes. It is not a disease, but a symptom. 
Incontinence ranges from the occasional leak to complete loss of bladder or bowel control. Due to physical or cognitive disorders, their bladder or sphincter muscle does not function properly and unintentional loss of urine and / or feces occurs. Depending on the cause and type of incontinence, there are many treatments and preventive measures available.

Types of incontinence

Incontinence can have various causes. Understanding the underlying cause and type of incontinence is vital to understanding the different treatments and products that are available.

What the different types of incontinence have in common is that in most cases something can be done about it. Consulting a doctor in time is very important.

Read about the different types of incontinence

What causes incontinence?

Incontinence can have various causes. The most common cause of incontinence is weakening or damaging the pelvic floor muscles. Due to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles there is a chance that the pressure on the bladder becomes too great and someone loses a small amount of urine. This can happen, for example, during physical exertions such as exercising, running or bending, but also while sneezing or coughing.

Incontinence can also be caused by underlying neurological disorders, prostate problems and more practical problems such as poor accessibility of the toilet - for example in the case of blindness or a physical disability.

Incontinence occurs in women, men and children. Incontinence occurs when someone unintentionally loses urine at least twice a month.

TEMPORARY CAUSES FOR URINARY INCONTINENCE include:

  • Lifestyle factors such as lack of physical activity, being overweight, excessive smoking and drinking may affect incontinence symptoms
  • Prescribed medication (mostly blood pressure medication, muscle relaxants, sedatives and some heart disease medication)
  • Conditions such as constipation can increase the need to urinate, because the compacted stool makes the nerves in charge of the bladder overactive.

PERMANENT CAUSES of URINARY INCONTINENCE include:

  • Aging
  • Damage to the pelvic floor muscles
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, or Multiple Sclerosis
  • Prostate/bladder cancer

Who can be affected by incontinence?

Incontinence in children

While most children have gained daytime bladder control by the age of three or four, there are some children who take longer time to train bladder control, and some remain incontinent for the rest of their lives.

Read more about incontinence and children

Incontinence in the elderly

Incontinence is more common in the elderly. However, it is a misunderstanding that incontinence is associated an inevitable result of aging and that there is nothing to be done about it.

Women in menopause, men with prostate problems and people with cognitive disorders such as dementia have an increased risk of incontinence. Functional incontinence is also more common in older people with motor problems, suffer from eye disease or use certain medications.

Incontinence in men

Incontinence in men mainly occurs in men over 65 years of age, but younger men may also experience incontinence. As men get older, the prostate begins to grow. Chances are that the enlarged prostate squeezes the bladder, with incontinence problems as a result.

Read more about incontinence in Men 

 

Incontinence in women

More women than men live with incontinence, although the gap closes with age. Women have an increased risk of incontinence during menopause and after a pregnancy.

Read more about incontinence in Women

Treatment options for incontinence

One thing the different types of incontinence have in common is that in most cases something can be done about it. Consulting a doctor or health care professional in time is very important.

Pelvic floor exercises and pelvic floor physiotherapy can prevent, treat and relieve the symptoms of incontinence.

Lifestyle changes can relieve symptoms and make everyday life with incontinence easier. These include staying hydrated, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. For some people, avoiding spicy foods, alcohol and caffeinated beverages also helps relieve symptoms.

Medical consultation with a health care professional or specialist can look at causes and treatment of incontinence. A doctor or specialist can prescribe medications that reduces the unintentional tightening of the bladder and can thus reduce the incontinence symptoms. It is also possible to reduce incontinence through bladder training. Depending on the type of incontinence, a specialist may advise different treatments.

If these treatment do not work, it is sometimes possible to treat incontinence with surgery, although this is generally not the preferred option.

Reliable incontinence products protect against incontinence and absorbs unpleasant odors, so no one knows when incontinence occurs.

Read about different types of incontinence

Knowledge Center