Urinary incontinence – the loss of bladder control – happens to many people, and can be embarrassing and inconvenient. Understanding incontinence and knowing its three different types can be helpful.
Incontinence from Foods, Drinks, or Medications
Sometimes incontinence in elderly people occurs because of something that they eat, drink, or ingest. For example, alcohol and caffeine tend to increase a person’s need to urinate; too much of either may result in an episode of incontinence.
Foods and drinks that irritate the bladder can have the same effect. Every person is different and something that is an incontinence “trigger” for one person may not be for another, but common bladder irritants include items high in spices, acids, sugars, and artificial sweeteners.
Some medications can also contribute to temporary incontinence. These medications often include those designed to treat high blood pressure and heart problems.
Stress can also contribute to incontinence. High levels of stress can have varying effects, including decreasing control over bladder functions.
Obesity can also add to the problem. Increased weight around the muscles that surround the bladder can add pressure that affects control.
Smoking increases the likelihood of blood vessel issues, which in turn cause the bladder to be overactive.
Incontinence from Temporary Medical Issues
Sometimes individuals experiences bladder control issues because of medical conditions they have contracted. Urinary tract infections are very common causes of control problems, and constipation can also impact bladder control.
Incontinence from Continuing Medical Issues
There are many medical conditions that can increase the likelihood of incontinence. The list is quite long, but it includes diabetes, prostate issues, bladder cancer, kidney or bladder stones, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. Pregnancy can also produce incontinence, which in some cases may continue after the birth of the baby. Menopause can also have an effect, as the decrease in estrogen can have a negative effect on bladder control.
If a person experiences incontinence, he or she should consult with a doctor to determine the likely cause and to decide upon a course of action to address the issue.