I am Incontinent – What Next?

It is very frequent that incontinent people don’t admit they have a problem, not even to themselves. Their ailment is considered embarrassing, that is why only a small number of people with incontinence seek their family’s or doctor’s advice.

If you have bladder weakness, remember that you are not alone. Be aware of the problem and talk to your physician about it. Remember that prolonged delaying to visit the doctor can deteriorate the condition, so you shouldn’t wait too long.

Prepare yourself before the doctor’s visit:

  • Write down all the questions you would like to ask your doctor, so that you would not forget anything
  • For several days before the appointment keep a urinary diary – write down all visits to the toilet and each involuntary urinating – it will help the doctor determine the degree and type of the problem you deal with.

What your doctor can question you about:

  • In what circumstances do you lose urine – while laughing/sneezing/physical effort etc.?
  • Do you often feel urge to urinate?
  • What is the speed of the stream of urine during urination?
  • Do you use any absorbent products as a protection for involuntary urine loss?
  • Do you have any disease that could cause incontinence?
  • What lifestyle do you have? Do you smoke?

A general physician can refer you to a specialist – a urologist. Most likely you will be asked to have some tests that will help the doctor to choose the best treatment for you. The most popular tests include Blood test, Urinalysis, Cystoscopy, Postvoid residual (PVR) measurement, Stress test, Urodynamic tests, Cystogram.

Treatment

Regardless of the treatment your doctor proposes, he or she should recommend using absorbent products for incontinence, which will protect your underwear and ensure all-day comfort.

The treatment proposed by your doctor can include non-invasive actions like bladder training or Kegel exercises or medical/surgical treatment. For further details you should always ask your doctor.

Bladder training

Bladder training is one of the non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical therapies recommended to people with incontinence. The idea of it is that a patient should develop such frequency of emptying the bladder (usually every 2-4 hours) that would enable to avoid overfilling it and feeling a strong urge to urinate.

Pelvic floor muscle training

So-called Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improving efficiency of the urethral closing at the same time. That is why all people with stress incontinence, pregnant women and newly delivered mothers are advised to take them. The Kegel exercises consist in contracting for 6-7 seconds and then relaxing specific muscles for about 20 minutes. To find right Kegel muscles, make a quick test in the toilet. While urinating try to stop the steam for a few seconds. The muscles which are active during this test are the ones that should be strengthened with the exercises. The effectiveness of these exercises depends on their regularity.

Choose the right absorbent product

Incontinence can cause inconvenience in everyday life. Incontinent people sometimes isolate themselves from society by resigning from professional or social activity and staying at home for most of the time.

But there is no reason to hide yourself from the society! To fully enjoy everyday life, choose the right absorbent product. In case of light incontinence, use special bladder control pads. They are very absorbent and almost invisible. For moderate and heavy incontinence adult diapers and pull ups are the best solutions. Before choosing the absorbent product remember to check if it is breathable and make sure that it has odour stop properties. The product has to be dermatologically tested as well as flexible to allow your body move easily. It shouldn’t contain any latex elements, because they may cause allergy and skin irritations.

By

– Mrs. Anna Kurakina

Seni, Incontinence Expert

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