Bladder Incontinence
It Can Be Managed at Home

There are a variety of types of bladder incontinence and many medical conditions that need to be ruled out before assuming that there is nothing that can be done. Here is a quick overview of the basic different types of urinary incontinence and a few of the common medical conditions that can cause loss of bladder control.

This part may be a little boring to read through, but if you can determine the likely cause, you can develop a management program that will be most effective and less time consuming. Always discuss this with your doctor, as there are medications and/or surgical interventions for bladder incontinence that may be effective along with the management tips provided.

Medical conditions need to be ruled out, or in, prior to starting any new routine. Any infections need to be treated and your loved one evaluated for medical reasons or medications that may be increasing incontinent episodes. Please make sure to discuss with your doctor, as you will be unlikely to get successful results if there is an underlying urinary tract infection or an enlarged and untreated prostate issues.

Depression can be a major cause of functional incontinence. If your mother, for example, has always been fastidious in her personal hygiene habits, suddenly “doesn’t care” if she is having accidents and fights with you whenever you attempt to remind her or assist her to the toilet, look at it this way. She may have simple stress incontinence, think there is nothing she can do about it, it reminds her of the fact that she is “old”, and becomes so depressed she simply no longer cares and has given up. If you can help her treat the depression then the issue you have to overcome is simpler. Don’t give up and don’t think it is an unavoidable part of aging. It’s not.

There are some complication that can occur with bladder incontinence, including:

  • Urinary Tract Infection

  • Pressure ulcers, commonly referred to as bed sores

  • Skin rashes

  • Yeast infections

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Falls

Prevention of these and other complications needs to always be on the top of your mind.

Of course, there are many, many products available to assist with management. Some of the incontinent supplies include adult diapers, mattress protectors, bedside commodes, condom catheters and under pads and briefs.

A quick note on odor control. Cleanliness is the most important aspect of keeping odors down, as well as proper disposal of used supplies. Protect unwashable fabrics, such as a mattress or a leather recliner, with a barrier to prevent urine from seeping into the fabrics. Wash laundry with a detergent that contains baking soda. Clean fabrics and carpets immediately by soaking up excess urine and using hydrogen peroxide to coat the area, then blot it all up. Always check an area that is not obvious to make sure it won’t alter the color.

There are also a few tricks of the trade I have learned over the years. Charcoal, if it can be kept up and out of the way of everyone, is effective.

So is a cut onion. I actually used this method in the nursing home in patients with wounds that smelled. Simply cut an onion in half and place on the top shelf of a bookcase or on top of a tall dresser. You will be amazed how well it works. We routinely replaced twice per week.

Good luck and know that with a little knowledge, you can make a difference. Even if all you can do is cut bladder incontinent episodes in half and not totally eliminate them, you will be lessening your work load while at the same time assuring for better physical and mental health for your loved one.

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