Did you know? Both men and women can suffer from bladder leakage for a variety of reasons. Let’s try to better understand this common health issue that is anything but trivial.
The many faces of incontinence
Contrary to what many believe, incontinence does not only affect the elderly. Generally speaking, women are more likely to have this problem than men, possibly because of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
Stress incontinence is more common in women than in men. Urine loss occurs during physical strain, such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting heavy objects.
Urge incontinence or urinary urgency
Urge incontinence occurs with people who have an overactive bladder, making it difficult for them to hold back their sudden, frequent urges to urinate.
Good to know!
It is quite common to experience stress and urge incontinence together. This is known as mixed incontinence.
Overflow incontinence is more likely to affect men with an enlarged prostate, because the prostate puts pressure on the urethra. Passing urine then becomes difficult: the bladder swells and expands until it “overflows,” and urine is lost accidentally.
Transient incontinence can be caused by different factors (diuretic or bladder-irritating beverages, certain medications, a urinary tract infection or constipation). Removing the trigger will solve the incontinence issue.
Nocturnal enuresis (Bedwetting)
Nocturnal enuresis, commonly called bedwetting, usually occurs in children at night or during naptime. But the problem of nighttime bladder control can affect adults as well.
Functional incontinence is caused by a physical or cognitive ailment that prevents a person from reaching the bathroom in time. This form of incontinence is most frequent among seniors.
What factors aggravate incontinence?
Many factors can trigger or aggravate incontinence.
- Physical: Prolapse of the bladder, diabetes, chronic constipation, urinary tract infections, excess weight, diseases of the prostate, weakened bladder muscles.
- Mental: Loss of faculties due to a disease (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke).
- Food and medication: Products that irritate the bladder (chocolate, citrus fruit, coffee, alcohol, medications, etc.).
Good to know!
Certain medications can cause or aggravate incontinence. Talk to your pharmacist!
Can urinary incontinence lead to complications?
Some types of incontinence can lead to complications, such as:
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Irritation of the skin
- Sores and rashes
- Increased risk of falls and fractures, especially among older adults, since the fear of urinating often causes a rush to the bathroom
Since people suffering from incontinence are often embarrassed by the issue, its consequences are more than just physical. It can lead to a loss of self-esteem, isolation and depression.
Yet incontinence should not be an obstacle to a rich and active social, professional and personal life. Your pharmacist is accustomed to dealing with incontinence, since it is a very common – and highly treatable – problem. Don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice on the products specifically designed to help you deal with this issue.
Do you have questions about incontinence, its treatment and the products used to control unexpected leaks? Talk to your pharmacist for expert advice!