First Steps to Treating Urinary Incontinence

This blog is one way for us at Proactive Seniors to share information that may be of interest to you, our readers, which is why you will occasionally see guest posts such as this one.

by Tina Castro, Mountain Cove Care

Urinary incontinence can occur at any age but is more common in elderly adults. This condition may present as an overactive bladder, increased frequency, or increased urgency symptoms. One may find they leak some urine before getting to the toilet.

While many may feel embarrassed about this condition, it is very common. According to WebMD, nearly 51 percent of people aged 65 and older and living at home reported bladder and/or bowel incontinence. Bladder incontinence was reported by just under 44 percent and bowel incontinence by just over 17 percent.

Urinary incontinence is more common among women rather than men. It can be caused by several factors, such as stress during and after pregnancy, severe coughing, obesity, and aging. Fortunately, most cases can be treated, and symptoms can be reduced using effective methods from a specialized healthcare provider.

Treating urinary incontinence

Depending on the type of urinary incontinence one may have, numerous treatments have proven effective. Other factors may also play a role in determining the best course of action, such as age, general health, and current mental state. Here are some of the common treatment options for urinary incontinence.

●        Medication

Taking doctor-prescribed medications is among the most common treatment methods for adults suffering from overactive bladders. These medications can vary based on several factors but typically include anticholinergics, which help with the urge to urinate frequently.

In some cases, medication may also be applied through topical means such as creams. This can help strengthen the tissues found in the urethra, reducing severe symptoms and alleviating discomfort. When combined with other methods of medical treatment, such as sacral nerve stimulation, radiofrequency therapy, and urethral inserts, topical medications can be proven to be quite effective in most cases.

●        Changes to lifestyle habits

More often, urinary incontinence can be caused by severe stress factors that affect a patient’s ability to control their bladder. These factors can include overeating, smoking, unhealthy diet, and weight gain. To prevent their conditions from worsening, people need to prioritize making healthier lifestyle choices.

Many doctors suggest keeping a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals and avoiding foods that can irritate the bladder.  A fiber-based diet is also recommended for better balance. People may also pair this treatment with Kegel exercises to help make their urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles stronger for better bladder control.

●        Surgery

When other forms of treatment are proven ineffective, surgery may be considered a last resort. There are several types of operations that can help treat incontinence depending on its severity.

In pursuing surgical alternatives, it is important to speak with a medical professional regarding the possible outcomes of each.

The road to recovery

Developing urinary incontinence can become an uncomfortable experience for many adults. Fortunately, due to the common nature of the condition, treatment and prevention are relatively easy to attain. Do not hesitate when it comes to your health and seek the advice of a medical professional.

Addressing health concerns such as urinary incontinence is just one part of an overall proactive planning process for aging. At Proactive Seniors we also focus on ensuring that our clients know what their particular risks are that may impact their ability to thrive in their homes and how they can best mitigate those risks to stay healthy, happy and safe longer.  Please reach out if you would like to discuss how we can help create a Proactive Plan or help find the best place to live if home is no longer the best option.