Management of Urinary Incontinence in the Elderly

While common in senior loved ones, urinary incontinence is a challenging condition to handle, impacting everyday life in a variety of ways and frequently leading to reduced self-confidence and assurance in addition to the limiting of enjoyable activities.

However, it is important to realize that urinary incontinence is not something that has to simply be accepted as an ordinary part of aging. Figuring out the root cause of the problem can result in a highly effective treatment option. Contributing factors to bladder control problems include:

  • A urinary tract or vaginal infection
  • Constipation
  • Weakened or overactive bladder muscles
  • Pelvic organ prolapse or weakened pelvic floor muscles
  • Nerve damage from conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or MS
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Health conditions which make it harder to get to the restroom in time, such as arthritis

An older adult going through difficulties with incontinence should visit with the doctor to talk about symptoms, medications, and medical background. She or he may recommend blood and urine tests as well as testing to figure out how effectively the bladder is emptying. Keeping a daily journal prior to the appointment may help, observing the times of day when urinating and when leaking urine.

When the reason behind the incontinence has been confirmed, treatment plans can include:

  • Oral medicines that may tighten muscles or help the bladder to empty fully
  • An injected medicine into the area surrounding the urethra
  • A low-dose estrogen cream
  • Nerve stimulation around the bladder
  • A urethral insert or pessary in order to help prevent leaking
  • Surgery if the incontinence is brought on by blockage or a modification of the bladder’s position

Additionally, management of urinary incontinence in the elderly may be relieved by trying:

  • Kegel (pelvic muscle) exercises
  • Biofeedback
  • Timed urination, emptying the bladder on a set schedule
  • Lifestyle changes, such as eliminating caffeine and alcohol, stopping smoking, and following a healthy diet

Frequently, those diagnosed with bladder control problems falsely think that they ought to limit their fluid intake. It is vital to maintain proper hydration and to know that lower hydration levels contribute to more concentrated urine, which actually will make urinating more uncomfortable and increase complications with incontinence. Plain water is always the smartest choice; however, if the senior prefers, try adding flavoring such as a slice of cucumber, lemon, or lime.

For a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the later stages, incontinence is particularly common, and can be helped by:

  • Making it easier to get to the restroom by making certain pathways are clear and there is sufficient lighting
  • Cutting out coffee, soda, and tea from the senior’s diet, as these increase urination (but ensuring your senior loved one drinks plenty of water)
  • Taking frequent, regular bathroom breaks
  • Choosing clothing that is easy to remove
  • Trying out various kinds of incontinence care products to find one that’s most comfortable

For trusted elder care in St. Louis, Compassionate Nursing Services’ aging care professionals are trained and experienced in incontinence care, and are available to help offer recommendations in addition to in-home care to help with personal care needs, discreetly and always with the utmost respect. Reach out to us at 314-432-4312 to ask about a no-cost in-home consultation for additional information about our top-rated elder care in St. Louis and the surrounding communities.