Incontinence Advice & Guidance
Bladder and bowel control problems effect people of all ages. 2.5 million people over the age of 60 suffer from urinary incontinence and 6.5 million of all ages are affected by some form of incontinence.
It can be embarrassing to tell someone about a bladder or bowel problem. Talking about it, especially with a healthcare professional, is the first step to helping yourself. You don’t have to cope alone. A healthcare professional will be able to assess your symptoms, identify the possible cause, and advise the treatments or exercises that can help you to manage your continence problems.
Light / Stress Incontinence
This is when a small amount of urine is leaked, usually caused by a cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise.
Stress Incontinence is more common in women, due to the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder outlet being weakened by pregnancy, childbirth and the menopause. Men may develop stress incontinence following a prostate operation.
Moderate / Overflow Incontinence
When the bladder does not empty completely, which leads to a build of urine which ends up overflowing, usually as a frequent dribbling leak. May make it difficult to start passing urine. There are a number of causes of overflow incontinence;
- Obstruction, e.g. an enlarged prostate gland in men.
- Constipation may make the bowel over-full and press on the bladder, reducing the amount it can hold.
- MS, Stroke or Parkinson’s Disease may make the bladder less effective at emptying.
Heavy / Reflex Incontinence
Reflex or urge incontinence is the sudden strong need to pass urine and may also mean you feel the need to pass urine more frequently. Many people find that as they get older their bladder becomes unpredictable, needing to pass urine more frequently and with less warning.
Triggers such as hearing running water or putting the key in the front door can bring on episodes of reflex / urge incontinence.
Severe Incontinence / No Bladder or Bowel Control
Loss of bladder control means you cannot store any urine at all. It can result in constantly passing large amounts of urine, or passing urine occasionally with frequent leaking.
- Total urinary incontinence can be caused by;
- A bladder problem. from birth
- Injury to your spinal cord, which can disrupt the nerve signals between your brain and your bladder.
- A bladder fistula,a small tunnel-like hole that forms between the bladder and a nearby area, such as the vagina, in women.
- Faecal incontinence occurs because of a number of factors;
- Diarrhoeacaused by infections and upset stomach – This usually resolves when the diarrhoea has settled.
- Neurological conditionssuch as MS or Stroke may experience faecal incontinence due to impaired nerve impulses.
- Medications can cause bowel problems such as constipation, this can develop into faecal impaction if not treated effectively.