DescriptionAn in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of urinary incontinence.
Maintaining good hygiene and diet are key components in sustaining a high quality of life. Many products are now available that help patients avoid embarrassment and, in some cases, prevent leakage. With recent improvements in paper technology, pads are now thin enough to be worn undetected, and a spare can be carried in a purse or pocket.
Keeping Skin Clean. To avoid skin irritation and infection associated with incontinence, keeping the area around the urethra clean without causing it to dry out is key. The following may be helpful:
Preventing or Reducing Odor. Certain methods or oral agents may help reduce odor from accidents. They include the following:
To remove odors from mattresses, some experts recommend using a solution of equal parts vinegar to water. Once the mattress has dried, baking soda can be applied on the stain, rubbed in, and then vacuumed.
Weight Control. In women, pelvic floor muscle tone weakens with significant weight gain, so women are urged to eat healthful foods in moderation and to exercise regularly.
Fluid Intake. A common misconception among people with incontinence is that drinking less water will prevent accidents. In reality, limiting fluid intake has the following effects:
Some experts recommend drinking two to three quarts a day.
Drinking plenty of cranberry juice may be particularly helpful. It is known to help prevent urinary tract infections. (Low calorie juices are available.)
People with incontinence, however, should stop drinking beverages two to four hours before going to bed, particularly those who experience leakage or accidents during the night.
Fiber-Rich Foods. Constipation can exacerbate urinary incontinence, so diets should be high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables. A diet rich in these foods is highly recommended anyway for overall well being.
Fluid and Food Restrictions. A number of foods and beverages have been reported to increase the incidence of incontinence. Some experts suggest that people who eat or drink the following items should try eliminating one a day over a 10-day period and check to see if removing them improves continence:
Considerations for Exercising
Some otherwise healthy adults stop exercising because of leakage. There are a number of methods for preventing or stopping leakage during exercise. The following are some tips:
A variety of absorbent pads and undergarments are quite effective in catching spills and leaks. Many undergarments developed for incontinence are almost indistinguishable from regular briefs and underpants. The following are some examples:
For women, the following are available:
For men, the following are available:
Even for men and women with severe incontinence, disposable undergarments can be purchased that have a normal look to them.
All absorbent undergarments should be changed when wet to limit problems of chafing or infection. Some manufacturers names and numbers are included in this report.
A specially shaped plastic urinal (Feminal) is available for women. It avoids the use of a bedpan, and can be used while the woman is lying down, seated, or even standing.
Urinals for men are available that attach to athletic-like supporters.