Living with Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States and tends to be found more often in woman and the elderly. If left untreated incontinence can lead to isolation, loss of freedom and unnecessary frustration.

An assessment by medical professional is the first step in determining the cause, type and level of incontinence. The assessment may be done by a urologist who specializes in caring for individuals with urinary incontinence.


Types of Incontinence

Stress: The leakage of a small amount of urine due to sudden pressure on the bladder experienced when laughing, coughing, exercising, or lifting a heavy object.

Urge: A sudden "urge" to urinate that is so strong that the bathroom cannot be reached in time.

Overflow: When the bladder fills beyond capacity and urine spills. Women may also experience the feeling of never being able to empty the bladder.

Reflex: An involuntary urination without any sensation of a full bladder. It is possible to be completely unaware of the need to urinate when this happens.

Functional: This results from surgery, restricted mobility, environmental barriers, medications or mental disorders.

Once you have determined the type of incontinence you have, there are some things you can do to help manage the challenges of the condition and live well with urinary incontinence.

  • Watch your intake of fluids: It is important to keep a healthy balance of fluids and drinking enough fluids is important to avoid concentrated urine, which can irritate the bladder. However, if you have urinary incontinence, drinking too much is not a good thing. Limit fluids to about 8 cups a day.

  • Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake: Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol is a good idea if you suffer from urinary incontinence. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics and can irritate the bladder.

  • Go to the bathroom: Going often to the bathroom: around every two to three hours is a good idea for people who have urinary incontinence or overactive bladder. Most people wait until their bladder feels full, but that doesn't work for people with urinary incontinence. Emptying your bladder before leaving the house, office or restaurant is a good idea even if you think you don't have to go.

  • Consider Kegel exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help you control incontinence. Doing these exercises regularly will help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and help prevent urine leaking.

  • Always know where the restrooms are: Whenever you are out of the house, it is always a good idea to know where the restrooms are located on your way to and at your destination.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Extra weight on the abdomen means more pressure on the bladder. Research shows that if women who are obese lose just 10 percent of their body weight, it can reduce the risk of incontinence episodes by 50 percent.

Just remember you are not alone if you have urinary incontinence. Learning a few easy ways to cope can make all the difference in the world in helping you manage your leakage. At NorthShore Care Supply we supply quality incontinence supplies of all sizes for every type of incontinence and lifestyle.