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Incontinence in Older Adults

 

Incontinence in an issue of great embarrassment among many people.  Because people are unwilling to talk openly about it, however, there tends to be a bit of misinformation floating around about the topic that could easily be corrected for the benefit of the sufferer in order that they might have a much less complicated life. 

There are many causes of incontinence in older adults.  The causes can range from poor posture, to inflammation or worse.  One common thing that people say is that it is normal to have urinary incontinence as you age.  This is simply not true.  Do not accept this as it is a common belief.  Perhaps your condition is caused by something that could be easily fixed if you knew the cause.  It may be that you have a medical condition that needs to be addressed before it will be solved, but either way, you’ll know the cause & be able to move forward with treatment & possibly a solution to the problem.

One of the most common, but least talked about causes of a weak bladder is poor posture.  For a variety of reasons, we tend to slouch or slump forward as we age.  It is somewhat natural, but you must think about your internal organs when you allow your body to slouch forward.  Your organs are arranged inside of you atop of one another, but also being supported by the spine in the back.  If you slouch forward, on the other hand, the organs push forward & rest fully on top of your other organs…specifically atop your bladder.  Apart from causing terrible back, neck & shoulder problems, slouching will often cause weak bladder or, if left for long enough, incontinence.

Another common cause is inflammation in the lining of the bladder.  If you have an infection of some kind, it may be a simple matter of receiving a prescription for an antibiotic & you could be on your way to recovery!  Sometimes it really is this simple, and yet people will go on for months thinking that they are just getting older & that incontinence is a natural part of that process. 

Of course, things are not always this simple.  Sometimes you may need to do exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor, other times you may need to go for treatment if the physician finds something more serious.  The main thing to remember is that if this problem begins or persists, you need to listen to your body & try to solve the problem.   In the meantime, if you need to wear adult incontinence pads or underwear, do your best to get the proper size & absorbency for your needs.  Some folks that are on a limited budget try to economize by getting a smaller size (because there are generally more pairs in the package) or by getting some that are less absorbent (because they are cheaper).  The result of this is that you can end up getting sores from ill-fitting underwear or end up in an embarrassing situation when the absorbency was not up to par.

Whatever your current situation with incontinence, if it IS an issue for you, do not be afraid to raise the question with your doctor.  Start the conversation so that you can begin the process of healing & return to a more active lifestyle!

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