Why is Incontinence in Elderly Females so Common?

A recent cohort study found that incontinence affects more than a fifth of people aged over 85 years old.

 

Urinary incontinence is much more common in older people and is associated with considerable morbidity. 20% of community dwelling older adults have enough incontinence to limit some aspect of their lives. It is associated with considerable morbidity. The risk of incontinence, however, is much higher in older females. It is that is thought that up to 50% of older women suffer from urinary incontinence.

Dr Fleming, president at ACP asserts, “Urinary incontinence is a common problem for women that is often under-reported and under-diagnosed”.

Are You a Senior Woman with Incontinence? Post on our Forum for Tips and Advice

Why is Incontinence in Elderly Females so Common?

Risk Factors for Seniors

Seniors are more at risk of nerve damage, mobility issues and arthiritis. Problems with nerve damage affect the communication between the brain and the bladder. Parkinson’s disease is a common problem that causes individuals to lack control over their bladder. Mobility issues can cause functional incontinence, making it hard to reach the toilet and buy the correct products. In addition to this, seniors are also more likely to develop cognitive problems such as Dementia.

 

Changes to the Female Bladder

Elderly women differ from younger females by the presence of several changes in the urinary tract. As you get older, the bladder also changes. A woman's elastic bladder tissue toughens and becomes less stretchy with age. A less stretchy bladder doesn’t hold as much urine as before, causing you to urinate more frequently. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles also weaken with age, making it harder to empty the bladder fully.

Older women are also more likely to get UTIs as the bladder muscles weaken and make it hard to empty the bladder fully.

Health Factors Exclusive to Women

There are a number of key factors exclusive to women that play a factor in causing incontinence. Common contributing factors are the following:

  • Menopause. Oestrogen plays a vital role in continence mechanism with the bladder and urethral function becoming less efficient with age. During menopause, the body suddenly stops producing oestrogen. This can cause lack of bladder control.
  • Pregnancy. The weight of pregnancy puts extra pressure on the bladder, weakening the muscles. Childbirth further damages these muscles through the stretching and strain of the muscles during birth.
  • Hysterectomy. A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman’s uterus. This can also remove some structures that are required to provide pelvic support for bladder control.

 

The combination of these factors can alter the condition of the bladder and pelvic floor. This makes incontinence much likely later in life.

Find out how reduced oestrogen can cause female incontinence.

Although not exclusive to women, obesity is another key risk factor for incontinence in elderly females. In fact, this factor is a common cause of leaks along with a hysterectomy.

Interesting Fact:

Incontinence in Older Women is more Common than most Chronic Medical Conditions!

Older People and Seeking Treatment

Older people are more likely to delay seeking help for urinary incontinence. Symptoms are often also poorly managed in care. Drug treatments and conservative treatments have been proven to work in older people. However, older people still remain under treated. Embarrassment may be a key cause for this. Linda Brubaker, MS, professor of female pelvic medicine and Loyal University Chicago School of Medicine, states, “female incontinence is embarrassing. It can really affect your quality of life-your emotional state, body image, sexuality”. One main reason as to why senior women don’t seek help is due to normalizing the condition. We all know that incontinence is more prevalent in older people, so women often feel like they should just accept it. Brubaker asserts, "many women think it’s normal, part of having children or going into menopause and don’t seek help."

Is your incontinence caused by nerve damage? Read more about Neurogenic Bladder 

Pull up pants for faecal incontinence are ideal for individuals who are fairly mobile. The design of faecal incontinence pants means the user can wear them just as they would normal underwear, but with the addition of absorption.

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Men’s pull up incontinence pants are becoming more popular due to their discreet, normal underwear feel.  

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Incontinence in men is still barely spoken of. You wouldn’t guess that there are actually 4 million men with some kind of bladder problem in the UK.

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Nappy booster pads, also known as “insert pads” are multi-functional solution. Whilst often disregarded, they can highly improve quality of life.

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The NHS incontinence crisis continues, as concerns grow for people in care with incontinence. Those in care in the Isle of Wight are currently experiencing a lack of essential leakage protection.

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When the skin comes in contact with urine and faeces frequently, this can cause infections such as incontinence associated dermatitis. This can be distressing and even cause pain.

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Stress incontinence is the most common type of incontinence. It is estimated that around 7 million women in the UK suffer from stress incontinence.

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Washable incontinence knickers are preferred by some women due to their normal underwear feel and discretion. The design of a lightweight pant has improved many people’s quality of life. (more…)

It is estimated that 1 person in every 100 may be affected by bedwetting throughout adult life. In addition to wearing protection and altering your diet, you can also use a bed sheet to provide maximum protection.

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The TENA range remains one of the most popular protection ranges. A trusted global leader, the brand offers products to suit everyone’s individual needs.

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Incontinence and back pain have been found to occur together frequently. Whilst the direct connection between back pain and incontinence is still unclear, studies have shed some light into possible causes.

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Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, resulting in them being fragile and more likely to break.

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You may have heard a lot about the different absorbent incontinence products. However, if you are looking for further protection, it could be time to look for plastic pants.

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Pull up pants are incontinence pants that feel just like normal underwear. Many people prefer these pants to pads, as they can provide a more discreet feel.

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Incontinence underwear is a discreet alternative to using incontinence pads.

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Nighttime incontinence, also known as Nocturnal Enuresis, can be a stressful and difficult condition. However, it can be managed with the right products and lifestyle.

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Nocturnal Enuresis is the term describing the leakage urine at night time. Whilst we may associate childhood years with bedwetting, it can sometimes persist into adulthood or occur during teenage years.

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Often known as “bladder pain syndrome”, interstitial cystitis is as a condition that causes pain, pressure and discomfort perceived to be related to the urinary bladder.

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A lot of us are already aware that coffee can increase urination frequency. So, what about drinking tea instead? Does tea irritate the bladder?

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Spina Bifida occurs when the spinal cord and vertebrae fail to develop properly in the womb. This results in a gap or split in the spine, damaging the central nervous system.      

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The East Sussex NHS recently cut down the number of free incontinence pads for young people from 5 a day to 3.

These new guidelines have led many parents of disabled children to stand up and protest against the new decision. One angry mother asserts that her children have been robbed of “basic human rights” by the NHS’ cutting down their daily allowance of free incontinence pads.” Jackie Hoadley, 57, told Metro.co.uk that it now costs her £1,600 a year to keep her children clean and protected. She cares for two disabled children, Mathew and Ellie, who both suffer from brain damage, epilepsy and double incontinence.

Are you Satisfied with the Incontinence Care you Receive From your Local Health Practice? Post on our forum to start a discussion

Not using the vital number of incontinence products can lead to skin irritation and conditions such as incontinence associated dermatitis. Jackie asserts that this has been an ongoing problem for her son Mathew, when his pads aren’t changed frequently enough. She states, “Mathew’s skin is prone to breaking down if you don’t change his pads enough”. It is also a source of humiliation and lack of social acceptance, particularly when accidents occur in a public place. She continues, “it is abuse, because if we left our children wet and they got sores, social services would be coming over, knocking on the door and asking why we haven’t changed our child”.

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“It’s another thing that people with disabilities have to fight for, which we shouldn’t be doing”

Jackie argues that the limitation of pads removes basic human rights from those with disabilities. She explains, “if you’ve been to the toilet three times in a day, it’s basically saying you can’t go again. That’s not right, it’s against human rights”. When she first complained about the new rules to the Head of Services at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, she was told there was “nothing they could do to help.”

Jackie has started a change.org petition asking the East Sussex Local Health Authority to ensure all those with disabilities are given as many incontinence pads as they need. The petition has gone viral and stands at 75,000 signatures.

In response, the East Sussex NHS Trust stated, “we know these products are important to families but these changes will mean that we can continue to provide a service that is high quality and cost effective. The changes are being monitored and we continue to engage with families affected, so we provide the best possible care to children.” The statement also said "families in East Sussex have an option to “make easy top-up payments with the same provider that ESHT use. This includes a discount compared to purchasing products elsewhere as well as direct deliveries.”

In response to the petition and high number of complaints, Jackie explains she has now received a revised statement from the NHS. The new letter explains, “those families in receipt of continuing health care needing more than three incontinence products a day will receive them”. Jackie and other residents have expressed concerns about this response. Jackie asserts, “I don’t think the revised statement goes far enough, and that’s because while Mathew may now be entitled to five pads a day his sister Ellie won’t be because she is not on continuing health care.” Jackie believes that she and the hundreds of parents like her still have a battle to fight.”

In addition to Jackie’s viral petition, Eastbourne Mum Linda Potter also has contacted the media stating she feels her daughter Nina is being put at risk by these new restrictions. She stated, “you have fight after fight when you have a disabled child. If we don’t fight for it my daughter’s not in a position where she could fight for herself”.

Improving support for young people with incontinence is an issue that is constantly in discussion. Earlier this year, the BBC published an article addressing how older children in schools with incontinence are not provided with enough support. This problem is thought to be due to a lack of funding, staff and support. Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, stated “incontinence is not just a home issue. It is a problem wherever that child goes.” Research found that teenagers with incontinence are at greater risk of underachieving academically, with more support needed to remove academic barriers.

 

If you or someone in your family has bladder or bowel problems, you can visit our living with incontinence section for tips and advice. If you are struggling to care for someone with disabilities and incontinence, you can ring the Carers UK Helpline on 0800 055 6112.

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Cotton incontinence pants provide a washable option for managing incontinence, and more and more manufacturers are creating designs.

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Buying incontinence products requires a good understanding of your needs and the different options. Read our 4 tips for finding the best incontinence pads for you. 

 

Research before Choosing a Style

When choosing a pad, do not just go for the first style you see. There are plenty of options of products that suit different lifestyles and levels of incontinence. If you have severe incontinence, all in ones (slips) will be more suitable for you. Shaped pads, on the other hand, are often used for light to heavy incontinence. Insert pads and booster pads on the other hand, are designed to be worn inside another product for extra absorbency. It is also vital to consider whether you will be comfortable in a certain design. Some people feel more discreet in a shaped pad, whereas others feel more comfortable in an all in one.

                                                                                       

Choose the Absorbency Wisely

Absorbency is the most important aspect of a product. Ensure you understand the difference between different absorbency levels before selecting one.

In order of light to heavy, most incontinence products are available in Normal, Plus, Extra, Super and Maxi.

 

How Sensitive is Your Skin?

Many people are so eager to choose a product that they forget about this important factor. Incontinence associated dermatitis is a condition that can occur when the skin becomes irritated due to exposure to urine and faeces.

If you have sensitive skin, you can find hypoallergenic products that are designed especially for skin that is irritated easily.

Think about Your Budget

To save money, we recommend bulk buying incontinence products. This allows you to save a lot of time and money, meaning you don’t need to frequently buy products.

If there is a more economical option than the one you usually choose, consider trying it out. Often, people shop depending on which brand is more popular. However, if you are saving money, we recommend being willing to try all different brands.

 

What are Your Options of Pads?

 

For Faecal Incontinence: For faecal incontinence, it is recommended to choose a pad with a Maxi absorbency, or a high absorbency all in one pad.

 

For Nocturnal Enuresis: Choosing a pad for night time often depends on your comfort preferences. However, shaped pads do tend to move around during the night. We recommend trying an all in one slip or belted all in one for night time use. It is also wise to choose a pad that is heavier than the one you wear in the day, as you will be wearing the pad for longer.

 

For Light or Stress Incontinence: For light or stress incontinence, shaped pads are recommended. The lower absorbency shaped pads are ideal for light incontinence, however there is no harm in choosing a higher absorbency pad for extra confidence. You can even find pads specially designed for men and women, which provide a close body fit for each sex.

 

Heavy Urge or Overflow Incontinence: For heavy incontinence, we recommend either choosing a Maxi shaped pad, or an all in one pad. For severe incontinence, a heavy absorbency all in one is recommended. A booster pad can also help provide additional absorbency if needed, which can put you at ease.

Read our Guide to the Top 10 Incontinence Pads for Men

Recommended Shaped Pads

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Recommend All in One Pads

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Recommended Booster Pads

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Recent research estimates approximately 27-39% of people with Parkinson’s experience urinary difficulties. New research shows deep brain stimulation may be effective for incontinence.

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Sticking to your budget is important when it comes to choosing incontinence pants. It is easy to lose track and end up spending too much money on products. 

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If you are a male with faecal incontinence, there are different options of pads for you. Remaining the most popular product option, there are pads available for various absorbencies.

Incontinence pads are disposable, so tend to have a higher absorbency potential than washable products. Pads are available in discreet and small designs and well as larger, heavier pads.

What are the Different Faecal Incontinence Pads for Men?

You can find incontinence products designed specially for men, in addition to products for both sexes. You have the option of the following designs of incontinence pads for men:

All in Ones

All in one pads are the most absorbent pad design, often known as the “nappy style” product.

 

Pros:

  • All in ones can be worn for a long period of time
  • They are suitable for use during the night, as they do not move around
  • They have very high absorbency
  • They can be worn alone without fixation pants

Cons:

  • Some individuals find these pads have too much padding
  • They can sometimes feel restricting, compared to some other products

Belted All in One Pads

The belted pads are incontinence pads combined with a belt fixation.

Belted all in one

Recommended Product

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  • Multiple layers of super absorbent polymers

£8.35

Buy iD Expert Belt Maxi on Allanda

All in One Slips (Fixation Tapes)

Slips are a type of all in one which features fixation tapes or tabs, instead of a belt. 

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Shaped Pads

You can find shaped pads that are specially designed for men, as well as pads that are body shaped for men and women.

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 Insert Pads

For very light faecal incontinence/smearing, insert pads are ideal for use with pouch pants or as a booster pad for extra absorbency.

Recommend Products

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  • Nonwoven topsheet
  • To be used in conjunction with other Pads
  • Fluff absorbent core material

 

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Which Pad Design is Ideal for you?

For heavy faecal incontinence- we recommend using an all in one pad (flex or slip). These have the highest absorbency and are commonly recommended for people with heavy urinary and faecal incontinence.

 

For moderate faecal incontinence- we recommend using a shaped pad with a high absorbency, such as a Super or Maxi product. Some men prefer wearing pads that are specially designed for men, however you need to find a pad with a high absorbency level.

 

For light faecal incontinence- some pads are specially designed for light faecal incontinence smearing. Some booster pads that are designed for faecal leaks are suitable for this. You can also find shaped pads are specially designed to manage faecal incontinence, such as the Attends f6 pad.

What Can Cause Faecal Incontinence in Men?

 

  • Nerve damage. Conditions affecting the nerves, such as Diabetes, spinal cord injury and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Damage to the rectum through radiation. A common cause of this is treatment for prostate cancer
  • Impairment to cognitive functioning. Men who have suffered a Stroke or have a condition such as Alzheimer’s Disease often experience bowel problems
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Severe Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Bedpans and urinals are useful assets for incontinence, hugely improving an individual’s quality of life.

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Despite the 900,000 children and young people with incontinence in the UK, incontinence is still often thought of as a senior problem.

The lack of knowledge that young people have about the condition only escalates this issue further. One recent survey showed that a quarter of young people believed bladder and bowel issues only affect older people. A recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Continence Care found that because of the stigma that exists around bladder and bowel problems, many young people do not access help that is available. This problem is more significant in young men with incontinence, who struggle to seek the right treatment. This stigma, combined with a lack of trained nurses and non-personalised treatment is thought to be the blame.

The NHS has been under a lot of scrutiny in how it handles incontinence in the recent years. Most significantly, the 2018 report by APPG labelled the implementation of NHS’s “Excellence in Continence Care” as “painfully slow”.

The report outlined the following key problems:

  • A lack of early intervention in diagnosing and treating incontinence in young people
  • Insufficient support in the transition from child to adult
  • Regional variation and gaps in specialist children’s bladder and bowel services

“Young Men can be Particularly Vulnerable”

There is generally still more recognition of female incontinence problems than male incontinence problems, making it particularly hard for men to talk about. The consequences of incontinence include more than simply the leaks. Incontinence can ultimately affect the way men identify themselves. Embarrassment, fear of bullying and stigmatisation are common problems faced by young people with incontinence currently. These problems put young people at risk of social distress, social isolation and other underlying health conditions. Health writer Ann Dix states, “young men can be particularly vulnerable, because continence problems in men are less recognised.”

Many Staff have a Lack of Training

The report identified that staff still often have little training in continence issues and have poor awareness of how it impacts young people. The impact of this poor treatment was said to be acting as a barrier in social interactions and “holding them back from achieving their aspirations.” A lack of experience in continence issues can cause staff to make unhelpful assumptions, and ignore an individual’s opinion. A common complaint amongst young people is the lack of communication on how their details will be handled. Incontinence can be embarrassing, so reassurance of privacy is vital.

 

The “One Size Fits All” Treatment

A key problem in incontinence treatment is that young people often face a “one size fits all” treatment method. Jamie Gane, a man in his early twenties, visited an incontinence clinic after spinal surgery. He states, “the staff at the clinic did not listen to my own recommendations of products that I had been using. They tried to push their suggestions. I wish they had asked the right questions and listened to me, instead of assuming they knew how I felt.”

Want to Talk to other Men about Incontinence? Anonymously Post on Our Forum

Improving Care for Young Men

 

Mutual Decision Making

In order for incontinence care to be effective and maintain dignity, staff should facilitate shared decision making. Younger men can be especially self-conscious about having to wear protection, so it is vital for staff to consider their views. This not only applies to products, but how young people are handled throughout the process.

 

Personalised Care

The “one size fits all” treatment is not effective. Every individual is different, so a young man should be dealt with differently to a senior. For effective treatment, specialists must consider an individual’s lifestyle, comfort preferences, and understand their point of view. Nurses and carers should aim to reach patient-defined goals, which should be reviewed at regular intervals until they are achieved.

Clear Understanding of Privacy

Reports have shown that a common complaint in young men is their uncertainty of how information is disclosed. To eliminate this uncertainty, Nurses should provide clear details on how men’s details will be used. Staff have a role of making men feel comfortable disclosing this information. Jamie Gane highlights this issue of privacy, explaining “when I did find Nurse to confide in, suddenly the whole team knew and I had people I’d never met before asking me if I needed assistance”. It is vital for Nurse to explain where their information is heading and why they should provide it.

A Comprehensive Continence Assessment

A continence assessment should offer a method of management that suits the individual’s circumstance. A product should be recommended based on the individual’s urinary loss, alongside information on keeping a bladder diary and dietary tips. Nurses need to be comfortable in asking questions about what triggers the leakages, what kind of incontinence they have and how they manage it. Professionals should also ask whether the individual is happy with their suggestions. Expert Sharon King states, “good continence care is transformational. It just makes such a difference- a hugely positive impact on wellbeing, self-esteem and dignity.”

 

Spreading Awareness

It is so important for health professionals to be aware that continence problems are not confined to seniors. It is vital for Nurses to understand that young men have these problems, so they are more prepared to handle the problem respectively. As a community, we can help by talking about male incontinence and spreading awareness.

What can Cause Incontinence in Young Men?

Incontinence in men is often a side effect after surgery for prostate cancer, or an enlarged prostate. Many young men also experience incontinence due to a spinal injury, or spinal deformity.

The following factors can also cause incontinence in men:

-Medication

-Obesity

-Neurological conditions such as MS

-Diabetes

-Urinary tract infections

-Loss of sphincter strength

-Constipation

-Chronic Cough

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Heavy Incontinence

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Vaginal rejuvenation, also known as “vaginal cosmetic surgery” has been in the news recently for its rapid rise in popularity. Invested in by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, having a “designer vagina” is the new cosmetic trend.

The cost of vaginal rejuvenation can be up to £12,000. Although many women have them done for cosmetic reasons, they can also be conducted for health reasons. This includes improving vaginal tightness and improving incontinence. Lakhani, a former GP, explains that the main problems she encounters are incontinence and vaginal atrophy, a thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that affects one in seven post-menopausal women. This condition can also cause a lot of pain. She asserts, “most people need relief from damaged vaginal tissue or a weak pelvic floor, caused by the menopause or childbirth”. The two main types of women who seek this treatment are postpartum women and post menopausal women. 

Increasingly Popular: Over 100,000 women across the globe are making the decision to change the appearance of their vagina every year

How does Menopause Cause Incontinence in Women? Read about the link between Lack of Oestrogen and Incontinence

What Occurs During Vaginal Rejuvenation?

Vaginal rejuvenation is surgery designed to reshape the vaginal area,  tightening vaginal muscles that have become lax and weaker. Childbirth is the most common culprit of this. The surgery can consist of vaginoplasty, labioplasty, or both. Depending on the requirements, either traditional surgical techniques or laser-based procedures are used.

The vaginoplasty is a type of surgery designed to tighten the vagina. This surgery is particularly ideal for women who have given birth, and have stretching of tissues and muscles. This method is designed to bring the separated muscles together. It also removes additional mucosa skin from the back side of the vagina. A labioplasty, on the other hand, reduces the size of the labio minora, the flaps of skin either side of the vaginal opening. Women often choose this either because they don’t like the appearance of their labia, or it causes discomfort.

Have you had vaginal rejuvenation? Post on our Forum and Share Your Experience

Vaginal Rejuvenation and Incontinence

Vaginal rejuvenation has a high success rate in treating incontinence, due to the tightening of the pelvic floor muscles. This means women have better control over their bladder, as their pelvic support structure is stronger. Recent studies have shown a 90% satisfaction rate in women who had the surgery for stress incontinence. However, the surgery has a number of risks and has been subject to a lot of controversy.

Complications and Controversy

The ACOG lists the following to be complications from the surgery:

  • Infections
  • Altered sensation
  • Scarring
  • Pain During Intercourse
  • Adhesions and fistulas

ACOG remains sceptical about cosmetic vaginal surgery, due to its risks and lack of scientific data on safety. The FDA (US Food and Drink Administration) found cases of scarring, vaginal burns and chronic pain caused by the treatments” A number of women have also reported health problems post-surgery. In September 2017, Aisling Ozdemir noticed a strange growth after the surgery that wasn’t there prior. Writing for The Sun, she explains “there was a fleshy bulge in my vaginal area that had never been there before. It felt and looked like a testicle. I was so shocked, I burst into tears”.

Dr Lakhani, experienced in conducting the procedure, admits “of course, I'm incredibly sceptical about all of this. There is no medical reason to undergo these treatments." He goes on to admit, "offering them perpetuates myths that the way women's bodies look naturally is, somehow wrong.” Health professionals from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recently began alerting women to the lack of evidence to support the safety of vaginal rejuvenation. Last August, Paul Banwell, a member of BAAPS, asserted “the whole area of vaginal rejuvenation practice needs to be carefully examined. This includes the efficacy and safety of such treatments”.

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According to the Stroke Association, around half of the patients that are admitted to the hospital experience incontinence. As well as causing embarrassment, incontinence can also be very debilitating.

A Stroke can cause incontinence due to the following reasons:

  • Damage to the area of the brain that controls the bladder/bowel
  • Mobility problems resulting in not making it to the toilet in time. This is known as functional incontinence
  • Side effects from medication
  • Communication difficulties
  • Constipation. Being less mobile can result in constipation, which can lead to both urinary and faecal incontinence

Are you experiencing incontinence after a Stroke? Post on our Forum and Share your Experience

Living a Full Life with Incontinence after a Stroke

 

Explore new Things

If your old hobbies are no longer an option, explore new hobbies that are an option. If you have limited mobility, trying skills such as art and crafts can be rewarding and a great way to de-stress.

Writing and reading can also be productive yet relaxing things to do while you are recovering. They can also help take your mind off problems such as urinary or faecal incontinence. These hobbies can also help you develop a sense of accomplishment and stay occupied.

Plan your Time Well

If you get tired easily, try to do the most energy-consuming tasks at the time of day or week when you have the most energy. You can often be more productive when you plan time to rest as well, as this ensures you have energy when needed. Similarly, planning your time well to manage your incontinence is key. If you are going on a long journey, ensure you visit the toilet before setting off. By no means should you stop planning days out due to incontinence. However, you can simply make room for certain times in the day to visit a toilet and change your product. If you are going on holiday, for example, plan certain stops you can make at service stations on the airport drive. Once you know you have a plan if needed, you can relax and enjoy worry-free!

Are you Travelling with Incontinence Soon? Read our Guide to Choosing Travel Incontinence Products

Continue with Regular Commitments as Much as Possible

Socialising and building a routine are known to improve mental health. Try to continue with hobbies, interests, social and other regular commitments as much as possible. See how much you can manage, and try to engage in interests. Talking about incontinence with close friends and family can help, and they may be willing to offer new advice.

 

Spend Time Outdoors

Spending time outdoors has wide-ranging health benefits. health boost. Studies have shown that walking outside can improve blood pressure, boost mental health and decrease cancer risk. Nature walks are also proven to have memory-promoting effects and eliminate fatigue. Being overweight can actually worsen urinary incontinence, as more pressure is placed on the bladder muscles. Outdoor activity is therefore a great placed to start in improving overall health.

 

Have Fun with Meals

You probably already know that some foods can have a negative affect on the bladder and bowel. Spicy foods and caffeinated beverages are common triggers for more accidents. Similarly, excessive amounts of sugar and fizzy drinks can also worsen incontinence. When recovering from a Stroke, it is vital to eat healthy foods and get the correct vitamin intake. However, this doesn’t mean you should stick to boring salads and plain meals. Try switching up your meal choices, instead of having the same food every day. You can add some flavour to meals by experimenting with spices such as rosemary, dill, thyme and garlic.

Useful Professionals

The following professionals can help you manage incontinence after a stroke: 

  • Physiotherapists can help with your walking to ensure you reach the toilet on time. They can also provide you with exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. 

You can read about pelvic floor exercises here.

  • Doctors and GPs. A Doctor or GP with knowledge of incontinence treatment will ask you about your diet and any medications you are on that could be making it worse.
  • Continence Nurse Advisors. For toileting aids and equipment, continence nurse advisors will recommend useful models. They will also teach you bladder and bowel habits to improve incontinence. You can also speak to continence nurse advisors about exercises for incontinence.
  • Urologists. Urologists have specialist knowledge and are experts in improving people's bladder and bowel control.
  • Speech pathologists. If communication is an issue, speech pathologists can help you communicate the need to visit a toilet.

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Pads are suitable for light to severe incontinence, and are available in various different designs. Pads remain the most popular method. 

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If you have experienced stress incontinence, you may have heard of kegel exercise devices. These devices are becoming more and more popular.

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A number of studies and reports have shown that more funding is needed for advanced incontinence research.

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There are around 7400 new Ovarian Cancer cases in the UK every year. It is actually currently the 6th most common type of cancer in the UK.

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Travelling can be a daunting experience if you have faecal incontinence. Worries about discretion, leakages and odour can easily ruin your travelling experience.

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Two new clinics have been opened in Cheshire and Cheadle, offering the revolutionary Emsella Treatment. This week, Michelle Avery explains the story behind the new clinics:

“MUUUUUM” are usually the first words I hear when I wake in the morning! I know I am truly blessed to have my 4 children and it’s an honour not afforded to everyone. In the past however, my bladder and pelvic floors thought otherwise and showed me what a physical impact bringing those 4 beauties into the world has had! Some would say a small price to pay…but would they? Most women I know won’t openly talk about their “leaks”. It’s a taboo subject! Something that so many of us deal with each and every day yet no-one peeps a word about it…until someone else brings it up!! “oh yeah! I’ve not been able to get on a trampoline with the kids for years” as they laugh it off! No mum that I have spoken to that suffers from “leaks” believes that they are incontinent. It is not a word that they associate with and maybe this is why they haven’t openly searched for a solution other than the good old pelvic floor exercises that we are urged to do after child birth.

 It isn’t just mums that suffer from Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). Sports women both professional and amateur are affected by this issue each and every day. Studies show that 25-28% of young athletes that have never been pregnant report SUI. These figures are higher where the activities they take part in increase the intrapelvic pressure, like gymnastics and trampolining where 60-80% of athletes report SUI. The more pressure that is put on the intra pelvic area the more the SUI is likely to take place. Female elite athletes are three times more likely to suffer with SUI than a non-athletic female. They are also likely to have a family history of Urinary Infections significantly associated with SUI.

As a qualified and practicing nurse for 15 years, I have witnessed first-hand incontinence on a daily basis. It is a condition that comes to many elderly ladies. Little did I know that I would be dealing with it in my late 30’s and early 40’s.  Dealing with this earlier in life would stop me suffering worsened problems in later life and make it highly unlikely I will suffer from bladder prolapse in the future.

There is an new treatment option available now that fills the gap between pelvic floor exercises and surgery- often the usual step when exercises haven't fully resolved the problem. The BTL Emsella treatment is revolutionary and has been changing ladies lives in the USA and Australia for a couple of years. There are currently 11 clinics with these chairs throughout the UK and due to my own personal experiences, as a family we decided to invest in bringing this to the UK to help many more ladies like me…and those not like me! My running days are over!!

3 hours over 6 x 28-minute sessions, will result in a 95% success rate of curing Stress Urinary Incontinence.

The three clinical trials have shown a 95% success rate in improving quality of life but what does this mean in real terms. I can speak from our experience from the reports given by our clients on how this has impacted their quality of life.

Reports from our clients are varied in nature from depriving themselves of fluids before a run, having to squat in a well-hidden bush along the route, taking a spare pair of pants everywhere, making bit a mission to find a pad that doesn’t stand out under their leggings and even influences the choice of colours they wear- black is the ideal colour as its harder to see the wet patch! And the queue for the ladies before a race says it all! In fact, have you ever wondered why wherever you go, at any time the queue for the ladies is always massive and the gents is non-existent?

Julianne, from Cheshire came to us after taking part in a local running event , she had been experiencing leaks for years since her last child was born but just thought that was her lot in life however when she decided to start running she found her problems getting worse, she would have to run home mid jog to change clothes after only a short time out ( and more importantly away from the kids!) and then psych herself up to get out there again. At the first event she was doing competitively she deliberately didn’t drink much beforehand as she was scared of wetting herself in front of everyone and ended up feeling dehydrated and in any case still had an accident 20 minutes into the race.

More than anything she didn’t want to give up running and why should she? Julianne came for 6 treatment sessions lasting 28 minutes each. After the third session she braved the jog pants and went for a run and was over the moon to find she made it round dry and in the same pants she started in. She also reported that she was getting a full nights sleep for the first time in years which meant she had more energy. After 6 sessions she is pad free, and doesn’t feel the need to go to the toilet constantly, makes it through he run with no leaks and reports having more confidence !

“This treatment has literally change my life, I feel liberated not having to plan ahead everywhere I go. I look forward to running now without that niggling dread in the back of my mind that I’m going to have an accident“ Julianne, 36, Cheshire.

I am one of the smug ones now able to laugh, sneeze, cough and even trampoline without a drop of leakage. What I love about this chair is that it is so discreet. It is non-invasive. Ladies can be treated without removing one item of clothing, which for ladies dealing with SUI is a huge consideration.

We call it the Happy Chair! Our clinics which are in Congleton, Cheshire and Cheadle near Manchester are small, comfortable, relaxed and private and we are a team of 4, Michelle and Sarah – both past “leakers” will greet you in Congleton and Anneliese and Frankie in Cheadle.

 You would be more than welcome to come and see us!

Alternatively have a google and find one in your area if you live further afield.

Visit the Estrada Clinics

Cheshire Clinic: Annex, Chapel House,
Chapel Street Congleton, Cheshire
CW12 4AB - Ran by Michelle and Sarah

Phone Number: 0800 772 3952

Phone Number: 0800 772 3952

Visit the Estrada Clinic Website for more information.

Stress incontinence remains the most common type of incontinence, and is particularly common in women. Urodynamics is a popular procedure that assists in the diagnosis and understanding of stress incontinence.

 

Why is it Performed?

Urodynamics is used either to diagnose stress incontinence, or before incontinence surgery to predict the outcome and find out more information. It is often used to measure nerve and muscle function. Doctors also use urodynamics to measure pressure in the bladder, flow rates, and other factors that may explain someone’s incontinence. The procedure can be used to find out what type of incontinence a person may have. The urodynamic test results help diagnose the cause and nature of a lower urinary tract problem, such as stress incontinence.

Have you had urodynamics for stress incontinence? Post on our forum and share your experience with others.

What Happens During the Test?

There are different types of urodynamic tests, which can vary depending on a person’s health, physical exam and LUTS. The heath provider decides the type of test that is necessary for a person. For precise measurements, imaging equipment can be used to take images of the bladder filling and emptying, pressure monitors record the pressures inside the bladder, and sensors record muscle and nerve activity. A Doctor may also use uroflowmetry, which is the measurement of urine speed and volume. A professional can then see when the flow rate is highest and how long it takes to get there. Special sensors can also be used to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves around the bladder. Doctors may also use a leak point test to measure the impact of pressure on the bladder. An individual may be asked to apply abdominal pressure to the bladder through coughing or shifting position. Methods can be either simple or more invasive, depending on your circumstance.

Is Urodynamics Testing Beneficial?

There is currently evidence that shows it is unsuccessful for improving surgery outcome in those with straightforward stress incontinence. However, the precise information discovered in urodynamics can be highly beneficial. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK recommends that women undergoing stress incontinence surgery should have urodynamic investigations. Some studies have found that urodynamic study can provide much more information than demonstration of detrusor overactivity alone. Many specialists believe urodynamics adds more precision to evaluation of patients with stress incontinence. Many people do have complex incontinence symptoms or other indications for urodynamic testing.

 

Why is it Controversial?

There is ongoing debate on the role of urodynamics as a diagnostic tool for people with stress incontinence. People often find urodynamic testing uncomfortable or embarrassing. The reliability of urodynamics in diagnosing some forms of incontinence can also lead to false-positive or false-negative results. This may lead to failure to treat the symptoms of incontinence correctly. The results of two large randomised trials show that urodynamics does not improve outcome of incontinence surgery in women with uncomplicated stress urinary incontinence. The importance of urodynamics for all patients prior to surgery is also uncertain.

In late 2018, it was observed that there has been a decline in the use of urodynamic testing for stress incontinence diagnosis. This is thought to be due to the following factors:

  • It is perceived as technically challenging. There is often a lack of staff who are skilled to do this procedure.
  • It has a risk of introducing infection. Urodynamic testing also has a small risk of introducing infection.
  • Patient discomfort. People often find the testing uncomfortable and invasive, and the high number of complaints regarding the procedure may have contributed to the decline.
  • Risk of methodological errors. Some Doctors have refrained from urodynamic testing unless it is absolutely necessary, due to the high risk of methodological errors. The lack of specialist staff exaggerates this problem.
  • Lack of funding. Urodynamics can be complicated and expensive, and a lack of funding has seen it decline.

 

Although subject to controversy, urodynamic testing remains the best method for assessing bladder function and the lower urinary tract. The procedure is successful in identifying abnormal bladder function, in spite of the risks. There is no evidence to suggest it improves surgery outcome for people with simple stress incontinence. However, it is useful for identifying problems in people with complicated stress incontinence and further bladder problems.

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Hello all! My name is Hannah, and I run the New U Clinic in Nottingham, that offers a revolutionary non-invasive treatment for incontinence, using the amazing new BTL Emsella chair. Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to the lovely Samantha at Incontinence UK for inviting me to write this guest blog, and giving me the opportunity to talk about such an important issue, what we do, and why I feel so passionately about my work. Secondly, to all of you wonderful ladies out there affected by those little leaks or embarrassing oops! moments, I’d just like to say: don’t give up hope – we can help!

As I’m sure you know, this is no small issue; incontinence is a life changing problem for over 200 million people worldwide, and sadly one that is rarely talked about. Too embarrassed to speak to doctors or even friends about the problem, most women affected by urinary incontinence simply suffer in silence, with only half of them ever seeking help.

When our pelvic floor muscles aren’t strong enough to sufficiently support the pelvic organs, we are no longer able to control the bladder, and the involuntary loss of urine inevitably follows. The deconditioning of these muscles can be for a number of reasons, from the natural ageing process, to the stress put on the body by childbirth. Consequently, millions of women, of all ages and apparent fitness, are affected and have to live with incontinence.

There are three main types of incontinence. Firstly, there is urge incontinence, which has sufferers relentlessly checking (and running!) for the nearest loo, and living with being exhausted from constantly getting up throughout the night. Secondly, there is stress incontinence, which is characterised by involuntary leaks occurring as a result of everything from coughing, sneezing, lifting, exercising, and laughing. Finally, there is mixed, which results in a combination of the two. Whichever form you experience, the effects on the lives of the women affected by incontinence is no laughing matter.

Whilst there has been a great deal of research on the area, until recently, the help that doctors have been able to offer has been somewhat limited. I’m sure we’ve all heard about kegel exercises, and how they can help build the strength of our pelvic floor – I even heard Lorraine Kelly discussing the ’Pelvic Floor Challenge’ on Women’s Hour yesterday morning. But while it is fantastic to hear more people discussing the subject these days, and beginning to break down the stigma attached to the subject, for many women, all the kegels in the world aren’t going to be enough to put an end to the leaks.

So when I heard about the amazing new Emsella chair, developed by medical technology group BTL, achieving an impressive rate of 95% of treated patients reporting significant improvement in their quality of life, I had to find out more.

The chair uses electromagnetic energy to cause deep pelvic floor muscle stimulation, rebuilding the de-conditioned muscles to support your pelvic organs, and ultimately restoring control of the bladder. In one 28-minute session, the Emsella chair stimulates the equivalent to 11,000 supramaximal kegels, far past the level any person would be able to achieve without the chair, however determined they might be with their exercise regime!

The results have been astounding, with the newly reconditioned muscles giving a significant and lasting restoration of bladder control, to help significantly reduce and even stop urinary incontinence, with many patients reporting a noticeable positive effect even after the first session. What’s more, is that these results are consistently achieved day in, day out, for women of all ages, and with all of the common causes for their incontinence.

Another mayor advantage of treatment for incontinence using the Emsella chair, is that is it quite so easy – whilst many are put off seeking help by the idea of embarrassing and painful procedures, this treatment is completely non-invasive, and is quick, painless, and highly effective. You remain fully clothed, and simply sit on the Emsella chair and read a magazine, whilst the chair does all the work for you!

Needless to say, before long, plans were in action to bring this treatment to my hometown of Nottingham. I have only recently opened the New U Clinic, where I offer this treatment, but already the effects on the lives of the ladies I have treated has been incredible. Every day I hear another heart-breaking story of how a wonderful strong woman has been held back, embarrassed, and had her self-confidence, physical health, social, or intimate life destroyed by incontinence. And every day, I’m able to help another lady take back control, get her life back on track, and face a brighter future without the worries of incontinence!

The Benefits of the Emsella Chair

Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to read this guest blog. I hope you’ve found it interesting and informative, that it will give you the confidence to reach out for help if you need it, and that it will get you talking to your nearest and dearest about these issues without embarrassment – the more we discuss these things, the more the power of the stigma is removed, and the more people will find their ways towards effective treatment. If you, or anyone you know is affected by incontinence, we’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch for a free confidential consultation, or to find out more, see www.stopincontinence.co.uk.

Hannah
New U Clinic, Nottingham
01773 764289
hannah@newu.uk.com

Are you a Women experiencing Stress Incontinence? You can still enjoy your frequent run! Read our Guide to Running with Stress Incontinence

As Dementia progresses, some individuals can find it harder to use the toilet and experience accidents or incidents. Choosing the right product is a vital part of looking after someone with Dementia and incontinence.                                                          (more…)

Do you have a question?

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 People suffering from incontinence can learn from your personal experience (This FREE service is anonymous - you don't have to disclose your name)

Read what others have said

Many people suffering from incontinence have already shared their experience. Why not discovering what they have talked about?

Do you have a question?

Our continence nurses and members of the community might have the answer! You can ask a question anonymously. (This FREE service is anonymous - you don't have to disclose your name)

Want to share your story?

People suffering from incontinence can learn from your personal experience (This FREE service is anonymous - you don't have to disclose your name)

Read what others have said

Many people suffering from incontinence have already shared their experience. Why not discovering what they have talked about?

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