Urinary incontinence can be difficult to deal with and makes everyday life more complicated, especially for CDS caregivers. It can be tempting to try and hide at home to disguise the problem, but you shouldn’t have to miss out on life because of incontinence.
Fortunately, there are a variety of devices that can help you manage urinary incontinence, so it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life. We’ll talk about the best devices for urinary incontinence, what urinary incontinence is, who is at risk, and more.
Let’s get started.
What Is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is involuntarily using the bathroom during everyday activities. It’s common for urinary incontinence to be triggered by things like sneezing or coughing, laughing, and sitting or standing. However, it’s important to know that urinary incontinence can happen at any time, with or without warning.
That means that it can be incredibly hard to predict urinary incontinence. Since incontinence usually involves malfunction of the nerves in your bladder and pelvic floor, it’s a condition that cannot be easily controlled, and most treatment options aren’t foolproof.
It’s important to understand who is at higher risk of urinary incontinence, and what can be done to deal with the condition.
Stress incontinence is a common type of urinary incontinence that involves the unintentional loss of urine during physical activities or exertion. It is usually caused by a weakening of, or damage to, the muscles used to prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles.
The main symptom of stress incontinence is a leakage of urine at times of physical movement or activity. This can happen during various activities such as coughing, sneezing, running, or even laughing. Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) causes urine to leak out due to sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscle to open briefly.
Treatment options for stress incontinence can vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the individual’s overall health. These can range from lifestyle changes and pelvic floor exercises to medications and surgery. Surgical options can include procedures like the placement of an artificial urinary sphincter.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience symptoms of stress incontinence, as it can significantly impact your quality of life and may be a sign of underlying health issues.
Who Is At Risk For Urinary Incontinence
There is some risk of urinary incontinence for everyone. But some groups are at increased risk of having or developing urinary incontinence. If you’re in one of these groups it’s important to consider what you can do to prevent urinary incontinence, and how you might deal with it if you do develop the condition.
Women are generally at higher risk for urinary incontinence, especially during periods of stress and hormone changes. That means that pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, and who are experiencing menopause are all more likely to experience some level of urinary incontinence.
The good news is that incontinence around those times is often temporary and may go away when your body and hormones stabilize.
As you age the muscles in your pelvic floor may lose their strength, which leads to urinary incontinence. That means that the elderly are at increased risk of urinary incontinence and that preventive measures like pelvic floor exercises are more important for this age group.
Anyone Who Is Overweight
Being overweight has a range of impacts on how your body functions, which can lead to urinary incontinence in some cases. This is partly because being overweight puts a lot more pressure on your bladder, which makes it harder for your pelvic floor muscles to work well.
That extra pressure makes urinary incontinence more likely. However, this form of urinary incontinence is often easier to treat than other types.
Individuals With Chronic Illness
There is a range of illnesses that affect pelvic floor muscles and the urinary tract that can lead to occasional or permanent urinary incontinence. Certain diseases that affect the nervous system can also cause urinary incontinence since patients may lose conscious control of their urinary muscles.
High stress, especially chronic stress, also makes urinary incontinence more likely. That means that you’re more likely to experience urinary incontinence during periods of high stress in your life, or if you work a high-pressure, high-stress job.
Fortunately, resolving the cause of the stress also often makes it possible to treat the root cause of your urinary incontinence.
Now that we’ve talked about some of the most common risk factors for urinary incontinence, we need to talk about what happens when incontinence isn’t properly treated and taken care of.
What Happens If Incontinence Is Left Untreated?
The truth is that urinary incontinence can have a host of serious consequences, especially when it isn’t treated properly by a doctor. While dealing with urinary incontinence can be frustrating or inconvenient at times, it’s incredibly important to deal with the problem as soon as possible.
One of the most common problems with urinary incontinence is that it can cause skin issues from wetness. Contrary to popular belief, urine isn’t sterile. Urine hosts a wide range of bacteria and can be quickly colonized by other pathogens in the environment.
All of that means that wetness from urinary incontinence is likely to cause skin rashes and other problems, including potentially serious infections.
Urinary Tract Infections
Another common problem from urinary incontinence is frequent urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections might be relatively common, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t serious.
Severe urinary tract infections can cause kidney damage, hallucinations, and other kinds of problems when they aren’t treated quickly.
It’s also best to treat UTIs as quickly as possible to give antibiotics the best possible chance to work.
Personal and Social Life Impacts
Urinary incontinence can also have serious impacts on your personal life when it isn’t properly treated. Untreated urinary incontinence can make it hard to leave your home or even invite friends over to socialize.
The unpredictable nature of urinary incontinence is such that it’s hard to predict and handle in social situations without some tools to help.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help prevent urinary incontinence. We’ll talk about prevention next, and then cover some of the best products for managing urinary incontinence.
How To Prevent Urinary Incontinence
There are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of urinary incontinence or help reduce your symptoms.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Practice Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Avoid Common Bladder Irritants
- Acidic Foods
- Spicy Foods
- Don’t smoke
- Eat More Fiber
- Maintain a Health Varied Diet
All of these help avoid some common risk factors for urinary incontinence and help maintain your urinary tract health. Things like pelvic floor exercises also help prevent loss of control from muscle loss or weakness.
None of these options are 100% foolproof, it’s still possible to get urinary incontinence, even if you’re doing everything right. That’s why it’s so important to know what kinds of incontinence devices there are to help manage the condition so you can live life the way you want to.
The Best Products For Urinary Incontinence
Dealing with urinary incontinence can be tricky, but having the right tools on your side is an important part of dealing with urinary incontinence.
We’re going to focus on products that help manage urinary incontinence from a practical side, but your doctor may also recommend different treatments or products that can help in addition to these devices.
1. Disposable Sheet Protectors
Disposable sheet protectors are great if you’re worried about protecting your furniture, especially your bed, from accidents. These protectors help absorb any urine while you’re sitting or laying on your furniture, and are more discreet than options like waterproof sheets. Some may also be scented to help reduce the odor associated with urinary incontinence.
Sheet protectors are usually relatively small, 100% disposable, and designed so that you can easily put them over a sheet or under it, whichever you prefer.
2. Adult Diapers
Adult diapers might not have the best reputation in the world, but improvements in design and absorption have both made adult diapers a lot better. These diapers work well for adults with all different levels of incontinence and absorb the excess moisture to help keep you comfortable until you can go to a bathroom and change.
Wearing an adult diaper can help protect your clothing, prevent unwanted odors and infections, and help disguise incontinence so you can have a more normal social life.
Slimmer designs are also available that disguise that you’re wearing an adult diaper. No one but you needs to know.
3. Mattress Protectors
Mattress protectors are a good option if you have severe or long-term incontinence because they protect your whole mattress but aren’t necessarily disposable. There are both disposable and permanent waterproof options, and recent innovations have made these protectors more comfortable to sleep on and much quieter.
Like sheet protectors, mattress protectors form a barrier between you and your mattress, but these are almost always placed under sheets to help hold them in place. With a good mattress protector, even the worst incontinence will go no deeper than your sheet.
Mattress protectors are also designed to be easy to clean and sanitize and resist scents so they don’t have any long-lasting odors.
4. Protective Underwear
Protective underwear is similar to adult diapers but usually smaller, less obtrusive, and slightly less protective. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good solution, especially if you only have mild incontinence.
Since protective underwear looks and feels just like regular underwear it’s easy to hide any incontinence. Protective underwear also helps contain any scent from incontinence, so you don’t have to try and cover unpleasant smells.
However, protective underwear can only handle small accidents and is best for people who still have at least some bladder control. That’s because it is possible to get a leak if you have a serious accident while wearing most kinds of protective underwear.
Incontinence liners are similar to menstrual pads but often formulated slightly differently to help increase comfort and reduce the scent of urine. Liners generally work best for women with mild incontinence but are more comfortable than adult diapers and less expensive than specialized protective underwear.
However, like protective underwear, incontinence liners have a relatively limited capacity before they might start to leak, and should be changed relatively quickly.
Liners come in a range of sizes and capacities and can be worn day and night as needed, as long as you change them often enough. 100% disposable, liners can also be worn when you need them and skipped when you don’t.
Between those five products, it should be fairly manageable to deal with urinary incontinence. We hope this article helped you better understand urinary incontinence, the risk factors for developing incontinence, and what you can do to help prevent it.