Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, is a common problem among older adults that most caregivers think that it’s something they should just accept as the new normal. The truth is there are many ways to manage this issue. In fact, in most cases, it can be treated.
You just have to make sure that you and your loved one are on the same page in the plan of treatment. Here are ways to manage urinary incontinence.
Identify the cause
The first step to addressing this health problem is to know as much as you can about it. Urinary incontinence happens for different reasons. For one, it can be due to an underlying health condition, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. These diseases damage the nerves that control the urinary bladder, which explains the involuntary spill.
Another possible reason is an overactive or weak bladder. When the bladder muscles act up, they let the urine pass and leak. The only way to know the exact cause is to consult a doctor. Physicians would run some urine and blood tests, and evaluate how well your loved one empties their bladder to make an accurate diagnosis. With a known cause, the doctor can then recommend treatments that would address the problem.
“Train” the bladder
While moving around isn’t the first solution you’ll think for urinary incontinence, exercise is very much part of bladder control training. Doctors often recommend learning pelvic floor muscles exercises, as these can help in strengthening bladder muscles, preventing the involuntary leaks.
Have your relative work with a nurse or a therapist, so you can ensure that the routines are done right. Experts who provide senior home health care services in New York City recommend the use of biofeedback, too. This therapy uses sensors showing information about different body processes, guiding the patient which specific muscle groups need to be strengthened to manage urine flow.
Scheduled bathroom breaks also work in training the bladder. So, consider taking your loved one to the bathroom every hour, then as you go along, extend the duration between pee breaks, until your loved one can control the urge better.
Help them adopt lifestyle changes
Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can irritate the bladder, resulting in over activity down there. Plus, smoking triggers chronic coughing, which can further cause a strain on the pelvic floor muscles. So, encourage your loved one to avoid these.
A home health aide can help here, monitoring the beverages your parent consumes and offering better, healthier alternatives to coffee and alcohol. They can also give your loved one an activity that would let them be busy, easing and distracting them from smoking cravings.
Part of the lifestyle change is letting them wear bladder control products as well. If your loved one only has a mild case of incontinence, liners or pads will do. But in cases where the patient is in a wheelchair, adult diapers are a better option. These products help maintain a sense of dignity while dealing with the problem.
Urinary incontinence is a sensitive problem a lot of aging loved ones struggle with. Help your loved one manage it better with the mentioned tips.