Incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control and is a symptom of, not a condition in itself. There are several conditions and disorders that can cause or result in incontinence. Some of these include, birth defects, the effects of surgery, nerve damage, infection, and changes associated with aging. It can also occur as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.
Incontinence exists amongst children, men and women of all ages. At some stage during their lives, 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 8 men will be experience this issue.
Urinary incontinence occurs when there is a disruption in the urinary system. The urinary system consists of two kidneys which are each connected to the bladder via the ureter tube. The urethra, a single tube, connects the bladder to the outside of the body. The ureters moves urine from the kidneys, where waste products from the blood are removed and urine is produced, to store it in the bladder until it flows out of the body through the urethra. A circular muscle called the sphincter controls the activity of the urethra. In normal circumstances, the bladder stores urine until it is convenient to urinate, but incontinence can result when part of the urinary system malfunctions and an individual may eliminate urine unintentionally.
The degree of incontinence ranges from small and infrequent dribbles, to the occasional loss of bladder control or a total inability to hold urine. Many older people are affected by the inconvenience and undue stigma of incontinence. Professional care can help many Individuals and their families manage the condition successfully and provide renewed confidence. Discreet and effective incontinence protection plays a key role in minimizing the effects and helping restore normal life.
However, despite affecting a large number of older men and women, urinary incontinence should not be seen as a normal part of aging. It is a disruption of the physical and/or mental processes of storing urine and emptying the bladder at a convenient time, a disruption that can often be treated or alleviated.