Bladder control issues can create a lot of anxiety amongst older adults. Understandably so as having an overactive bladder can cause leakage and the frequent need to urinate. It can feel embarrassing because bladder incontinence among older adults and the elderly is something not frequently talked about.
It is also in many cases a very uncomfortable experience. Feeling pressure on your bladder and feeling discomfort when exercising is physically stressful. Understanding some of the more common reasons it happens can relieve some of the stress that may be contributing to urine leakage. Let’s break down the five most common causes of bladder incontinence among the elderly.
1. Arthritis and Developed Disorders
Arthritis and developed disorders can cause functional incontinence. They are first on the list because this type of incontinence is not actually a bladder problem. It is incredibly common amongst the elderly because it is the inability to get to the bathroom quickly enough rather than losing control immediately.
Any type of disorder that developed with age such as arthritis could make it difficult for them to get to the bathroom quickly as well as undress can result in this type of bladder incontinence.
2. Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
While putting pressure on the bladder can cause stress incontinence among all genders, it is mostly seen in middle-aged women and older. Putting stress on the bladder through sneezing, coughing, exercising, or a number of other activities can cause the bladder to leak.
This may be a sign of weak pelvic floor muscles or bladder. The inability to essentially contract and hold the urine under stress results in urine leakage. As we get older our muscles weaken and this is especially true after menopause.
3. Having Alzheimer’s of Other Diseases
There is a number of diseases that can contribute to the feeling of needing to urinate frequently but not being able to hold it in. Having Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, among a few more, are all potential causes.
This type of incontinence can be classified as urge incontinence. Sometimes having a stroke can also be a prior factor to this type of bladder issue. This is because all of these diseases create nerve damage which can result in an overactive bladder as well as overflow incontinence.
4. Overactive Bladder
When a bladder is always full and an elderly person has trouble emptying their bladder they can experience overflow Incontinence. This experience will make the person feel like they always need to urinate but never feel truly empty.
This is common with elderly men who deal with prostate cancer and may have an enlarged prostate that blocks the urethra. Diabetes can create a similar effect that would also contribute to an overactive bladder.
Treating Bladder Incontinence
Even though having bladder incontinence can feel uncontrollable, there is a lot that one can do to try and combat having a bladder that doesn’t feel dependable. While there are some medical treatments, taking medication is not for everyone. Let’s talk about a number of the most popular options.
Since it is common to see women start to lose some bladder control after pregnancy and into their elderly years, it’s important to have a solution that works for them. Because incontinence underwear for women absorbs well and keeps a fresh odor, this is a great solution that can’t stop incontinence from happening.
A doctor’s recommendation for those who may have more mild symptoms includes limiting or giving up alcohol and smoking. While exercising may be a contributing factor, losing weight can also help relieve bladder pressure.
Doctors can prescribe a number of medications to help with bladder control loss. This is something that must be taken up with a doctor since there are always a number of other risks associated.
Knowledge is Power
Bladder incontinence among the elderly is unfortunately a common experience that many endure. Asking for help or understanding what may be the contributing factors is the first step in easing the stress. Once you are able to understand the different types and causes associated with them, you can look at different treatments that are both appropriate and best fit your needs.
Remember that bladder incontinence is a common experience. When we speak openly about it, we can be less embarrassed and more empowered to find a solution!