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What is Incontinence?

Two Major Forms of Incontinence With a Lot of Explanation


Incontinence is a general term that describes a medical condition in which one experiences loss of control over bladder and or bowel. Leakage of urine, feces, gas becomes involuntary or accidental.


Urinary Incontinence (UI) is the specific term for loss of bladder control, and from there are specific forms of Urinary Incontinence: Stress, Urge, Overflow, Functional, and Mixed Incontinence.


Fecal or Bowel Incontinence (FI, BI) is the specific term for loss of bowel movement control.


Although Urinary and Bowel Incontinence may be uncomfortable, your discomfort can be alleviated with a number of different treatments. Both Urinary and Bowel Incontinence can be maintained and sometimes eliminated with specific medications to help with control, pelvic floor exercises to strengthen possibly weak muscles, adult diapers to absorb leakage, and sometimes it’s as easy as diet change. Your physician will be able figure out what treatment is best for you, and from there your Incontinence will not feel so daunting.


Tell Me About Urinary Incontinence


Urinary Incontinence is a health condition in which you involuntarily or accidentally leak urine. Urinary Incontinence occurs when the muscles that control your urine flow are too weak or too active. The bladder and urethra are controlled by pelvic floor muscles that enable urine to flow from your bladder, through the urethra and out of your body. At the opening of the bladder the sphincter muscle squeezes to keep urine from leaking through the urethra. The majority of people can hold over two 2 cups of urine in their bladder, so when these muscles don’t function properly you may experience involuntary leakage.rnUrinary Incontinence is very common and every case is different – some being more severe than others. Some people dribble urine when they sneeze, but others get sudden strong urges to urinate and can’t find a toilet in time. These are specific symptoms that fall under different categories of Urinary Incontinence.


Stress Urinary Incontinence


Definition: Stress Urinary Incontinence occurs when urine leakage is caused by exerted pressure on your bladder. Stress Incontinence is not related to psychological stress. When your pelvic floor muscles weaken, urine easily passes through the urethra. Therefore, when you place pressure on your bladder with activity like laughing or exercising, you may notice leakage.


Symptoms: With Stress Urinary Incontinence you will notice the leakage of urine when you are physically active. Actions like coughing, sneezing, laughing, standing, exercising, and having sexual intercourse put pressure on the bladder and can cause leakage. Because these are normal activities, and you want to live an active lifestyle, disposable liner guards and liner pads are found convenient and effectively absorbent. With the combination of weakened pelvic floor muscles and exerted pressure on the bladder, it is very likely you may experience the symptoms of Stress Urinary Incontinence.


Causes: Stress Urinary Incontinence may be caused by childbirth, injury to the urethra, certain medications, or surgery in the pelvic area or prostate. Stress Incontinence is most the most common type of Urinary Incontinence in women. If you’ve given birth more than once, especially with vaginal delivery, you become more predisposed. Pelvic prolapse, when your bladder, urethra or rectum slide into the vagina, is another issue that could increase the risk of acquiring Stress Incontinence. Basically anything that damages the pelvic floor, in both men and women, can cause Stress Urinary Incontinence.


Urge Urinary Incontinence


Definition: Urge Incontinence occurs when you have a sudden urge to urinate. With Urge Incontinence your muscles are hyper active, this is why it is also known as Overactive Bladder. The bladder contracts when it should not causing urine to flow through the sphincter muscles, and out of the urethra. These are known as bladder spasms or a spasmodic bladder. While Urge Incontinence is a common issue and can affect anyone, women (especially pregnant and post-pregnant) and the elderly are predisposed to developing it.


Symptoms: Your Urge Incontinence could be causing you to wet yourself before reaching a toilet. It may impede the way you function in public because of the uncomfortable and awkward fear of wetting yourself. Even when your bladder is not full, your bladder may spasm, making you believe you are about to experience leakage. If these symptoms of Urge Urinary Incontinence are associated with pain in the pelvic region, lower stomach, and burning or painful urination it could be an indicator of a greater issue, like kidney stones. In this instance it is essential to contact a doctor as soon as possible. Urge Urinary Incontinence is common and treatable, so seeking a doctor no matter how severe the symptoms is a good idea. Any treatments or tips to alleviate the symptoms will help you live an active lifestyle.


Causes: Many cases of Urge Incontinence are hard to specifically diagnose. It could be a combination of issues. But according to HealthLine some instances are actually quite obvious. Some potential causes are bladder infection, bladder inflammation, bladder stones, bladder cancer, obstruction of the sphincter muscle, enlarged prostate, diseases of the nervous system (like multiple sclerosis), and injury to the nervous system (like a stroke or trauma to the spinal chord).


Overflow Urinary Incontinence


Definition: Overflow Urinary Incontinence occurs when the bladder muscles cannot squeeze properly and it becomes difficult to completely empty the bladder of urine. When the bladder does not empty properly, you experience “dribbling”, or leakage of urine. Overflow Incontinence can also be caused by bladder obstruction, so you may experience a weak flow of urine when passing fluid. The blocked, full bladder puts pressure on the urethra and it is hard to pass urine.


Symptoms: Because the bladder is unable to empty completely, it quickly fills up with any liquid intake. The constantly full bladder can cause the bladder and its muscles to gradually stretch, become floppy, and weaken. With weak muscles and an obstruction in your bladder flow you may constantly feel full, like there is a tightly tied water balloon sitting in your pelvis. You may also feel strained when attempting to urinate. The causes may create other symptoms also associated with Overflow Urinary Incontinence. Your brain may not be signaled to go the toilet, so dribbling in public is an often occurrence. The lack of warning to urinate may cause you to wet yourself as you sleep as well. Overnight briefs for Incontinence provide heavy absorbency so you can avoid cleaning up a wet bed in the morning.


Causes: The known causes of Overflow Incontinence include injury to the nervous system, damage to pelvic floor muscles, and damage to the urethral sphincter. Diseases such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Spina Bifida, and diabetes can interfere with the workings of your bladder muscles. Certain medications, over the counter medications and herbal products can also interfere with bladder function. Overflow Incontinence is mostly found in men because it can also be caused by an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia), and prostate related surgery. Overflow Urinary Incontinence may be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but there are treatments to put your mind and body at ease. For example, adult pull on underwear like the Tena Knit Adult Pull On Underwear proves comfortable and absorbent.


Functional Urinary Incontinence


Functional Incontinence has nothing to do with diseases or issues related to the bladder. It’s purely a mental or physical impairment that keeps you from making it to the toilet. Those with Functional Incontinence include sufferers of severe arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to unbutton your pants quickly enough, or even move around.


Mixed Urinary Incontinence


Mixed Incontinence is a very common form of Urinary Incontinence because it is a combination of incontinence related problems. Most who have Mixed Incontinence, have a combination of Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence, but it could be a combination of any of the other forms.


Who has Urinary Incontinence?


Urinary Incontinence is an incredibly common issue experienced by people of all ages, all over the world. Presently, over 33 million people in North America alone experience different forms of Urinary Incontinence. That means a quarter to a third of Americans share this condition.


While it’s not indicator or an inevitability in your aging body, the rates of Urinary Incontinence heighten in people over the age of 65.rnWomen are more likely to experience Urinary Incontinence than man. While a low number of young women experience symptoms of Urinary Incontinence, around menopause and postmenopause these numbers steadily rise. This condition is prevalent during and after menopause because of a decrease in estrogen. Women who have had more than one vaginal birth will also have a higher predisposition to Urinary Incontinence. During and after pregnancy, the bladder and pelvic floor muscles have experienced a good amount of pressure and can weaken. Pregnancy and childbirth may cause bladder control issues for other reasons as well for example damage to the nerves that control the bladder, the movement of urethra and bladder during pregnancy, and if an episiotomy (a cut made in the pelvic floor muscle to enable and easier birth) was made. Because of these considerations in female anatomy, women are more likely to experience Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence, over the other kinds.


While Urinary Incontinence is found to be lower in men, the likelihood for men to experience severe incontinence after the age of 70 is higher than in women. Again, even though older men are more likely to experience incontinence, that does not mean it is a normal part of aging. The most common form of Urinary Incontinence found in men is Overflow Incontinence. Men’s incontinence is generally related to diseases that cause bladder control issues, enlarged prostate, or surgeries made to treat issues with the prostate like prostate cancer. Men can also perform kegels to treat their incontinence, contrary to popular belief.


Millions of people need help maintaining their incontinence. Whether it has impacted you or a loved one, this condition is very common and treatable. Talk to your doctor about your Urinary Incontinence and find which treatment is best for you, it might be as simple as an adult diaper. You and your loved ones are not alone.


Fecal Incontinence


Fecal Incontinence is also called Bowel Incontinence, because it involves the minor or complete loss of the bowel control and causes anal leakage. The system of bowel control consists of the large intestine absorbing water and nutrients passed from the small intestine. From there the large intestine compounds the liquid into stool, which is then passed from the colon to the rectum. The rectum is the last part of the colon and stores stool before a bowel movement occurs. Nerves within the rectum can sense this stored stool. The stool leaves the body through the anus, or the anal sphincter, which is a ring of muscles at the end of the rectum. If any part of this process does not function properly, Fecal Incontinence can result.


Symptoms: With Fecal Incontinence you may notice the accidental passing of solid or liquid stool or mucus. Stool, or feces, is a term used to describe the solid waste that is passed through your bowel. The formation of stool includes undigested food, bacteria, mucus, and dead cells. Mucus is a clear liquid that protects that digestive system by coating gastric tissue. The inability to control a bowel movement may cause leakage of stool or mucus before you reach a bathroom, or even realize leakage is happening. This is why a lot of people with Fecal Incontinence prefer disposable briefs, like the Attends Incontinent Briefs.


Causes: Bowel Incontinence ranges from minor to severe. From an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control, there are many different causes.rnInjury to the anal sphincter, in an accident or even during childbirth (especially if an episiotomy or forceps are used during delivery), is one cause.rnDiseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis can damages the nerves that sense stool in the rectum. Childbirth, constant straining during bowel movements, spinal chord injury, stroke, or chronic constipation can also cause damage to the sensory nerves. Surgery to treat hemorrhoids or other complex surgeries involving the rectum or anus can also cause nerve damage and lead to Fecal Incontinence.rnChronic constipation can stretch and weaken the muscles as well. If a mass of dry, hard stool is formed in the rectum, watery stool to move around the mass and leak out.rnDiarrhea can cause or worsen Fecal Incontinence because it is loose stool, which can be hard to retain in the rectum.rnSurgery, radiation treatment or inflammatory bowel disease can scar your rectum or stiffen your rectal walls. This results in the loss of storage capacity. The rectum will be unable to stretch as easily and excess stool may leak out.rnRectal prolapse, where the rectum slides down into the anus can cause Fecal Incontinence.rnRectocele, where the rectum protrudes through the vagina, can cause Fecal Incontinence in women.


These causes can make your case of Fecal or Bowel Incontinence severe or relatively minor. Many people experience this condition and are too embarrassed to talk about it. That being said, because Bowel Incontinence is a common issue, modern medicine has found many treatments ranging from surgery to adult diapers. Kegel exercises are commonly done to treat urinary incontinence, but they can reduce the leaky symptoms of bowl incontinence as well.


Who has Fecal or Bowel Incontinence?


People of all ages can experience Fecal Incontinence. For children and young adults, Fecal Incontinence tends to be a relatively minor, limited to the occasional leakage in underwear. But sometimes the complete lack of bowel control can be experienced and can be quite devastating. This, unfortunately, is more common in older adults. But this does not mean that with old age comes only severe cases Fecal Incontinence.


About one in twelve adults in the United States have Bowel Incontinence. This means nearly 18 million people in North America experience this condition, making it quite common. Fecal Incontinence is slightly more common among women, because of pregnancy related issues, but it is not an inevitable outcome. In any case, whether you are male or female, there are treatments available. Talk to your doctor about adult diapers or behavioral modifications that can help to maintain your Fecal Incontinence.

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