Urinary incontinence is both common and complex. There are many types of urinary incontinence and it has many causes.
- Functional incontinence is when the person is unable to find or get to a toilet in time. Causes include: certain medications, dementia, arthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or any disease that causes mental or physical deterioration.
- Stress incontinence is when a person cannot hold on while coughing, laughing or sneezing and is due to weakening of pelvic floor muscles. Causes include: childbirth, menopause, pelvic surgery or prostate cancer.
- Urge incontinence is also an inability to hold on while trying to get to a toilet, due to an unstable bladder (detrusor) muscle. Causes include: some medications, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, constipation, bladder infections and spinal cord injury.
- Retention is when a person is unable to empty their bladder completely; some urine remains in the bladder after going to the toilet and small amounts may leak out without warning. Causes include: some medications, bowel blockage, prostate enlargement, diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and spinal cord injury.
Faecal incontinence is less common than urinary incontinence and is for most sufferers a devastating condition that seriously impacts on one’s quality of life and self-esteem. It can in some cases lead to depression and social isolation.
Some causes include:
- Mental function decline with aging;
- Stool volume and consistency;
- Colonic, rectal and anal sphincter function;
- Nerve or muscle damage incurred during childbirth (such as a sphincter tear);
- Faecal impaction (particularly among the elderly);
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
What is incontinence?
Incontinence is difficulty controlling the bowel or bladder; it involves any involuntary leakage of urine or faeces. Incontinence is a symptom of other problems and not an inevitable part of ageing. It is estimated that 4.8 million Australians (1:4) over the age of 15 are living with incontinence.
Incontinence can occur in men or women of any age, but a person who is elderly, has dementia, has given birth, had pelvic surgery, is disabled or has a chronic health problem is at increased risk. While incontinence is a challenging problem for family and hourly caregivers and live in carers alike, help is available from a range of sources. There is no need for anyone to cope alone, your doctor is a good starting point for information, advice, treatment and referral.
Assessment and treatment
For both urinary and faecal incontinence, proper assessment and treatment can help and in many cases, incontinence can be improved or even cured. There is a huge range of incontinence products and options now available in Australia.
Please feel welcome to talk to us. We often organise the Continence Nurse to visit our clients to advise our clients and hourly caregivers and live in carers. In our experience faecal incontinence is often a trigger for placing someone in a nursing home but it doesn’t need to be. Hourly Caregivers and Live in Carers can attend to personal care at home utilising new technology to help manage any issues.
There are two main treatment options for incontinence. One involves conservative treatment which includes: medical treatment with drugs, physiotherapy, biofeedback, the use of incontinence products and lifestyle modification. The second option is surgery: varying techniques used to repair muscle damage caused by trauma, stress or injury.
Your doctor can offer support and advice. Additionally, feel free to call us and speak to one of our 24hr nurses about the condition. Call us on 9970 7333.
The Daughterly Care Joyful Living Approach™
It is important to have someone to listen to you and to understand your feelings and concerns about incontinence. Our Hourly Caregivers and Live in Carers are sensitive to each of our clients individual needs. They take the time and care needed to make our private care clients feel supported and listened to no matter what condition they have.
Whether you need Live in Care, Hourly care or 24 Hour care, we would love to come and discuss your individual care needs in your own home so give us a call to make an obligation free appointment (02) 9970 7333.