What is incontinence and how to deal with it?

What is Incontinence?

Incontinence is the inability to restrain natural discharges or evacuations of urine or feces. Incontinence is the condition of inadequate urinary control or storage.

What are the causes of Incontinence?

There can be many causes of incontinence. The most frequent cause of incontinence is Polyuria or excessive production of urine. Polyuria is mostly caused by uncontrolled diabetes, excessive fluid drinking, etc. Polyuria generally causes urinary urgency and frequency but doesn't necessarily lead to incontinence. Caffeine or cola beverages also stimulate the bladder. Another common cause of incontinence is an enlarged prostate which is quite common in men after the age of 40. Drugs or radiation used to treat prostate cancer can also cause incontinence. Other causes include disorders like multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, Parkinson's disease, strokes, and spinal cord injury.

Types of Incontinence

  • Urge incontinence - This is a sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine. The causes of this type are a urinary tract infection or anything that irritates the bladder.
  • Stress incontinence - This is loss of urine when you exert pressure or stress on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or performing any act that increases intra-abdominal pressure and in turn puts pressure on the bladder.
  • Mixed incontinence - A combination of both stress and urge incontinence. Mixed incontinence is common in the elderly female population.
  • Overflow incontinence - This is an inability to empty your bladder, so it overflows uncontrollably and you leak urine.
  • Overactive bladder - Symptoms of these include urinary frequency, urgency and awakening at night to urinate.
  • Functional incontinence - This occurs when a person recognizes the need to urinate but cannot make it to the bathroom. People with functional incontinence may have problems thinking, moving, or communicating that prevent them from reaching a toilet.
  • Transient Incontinence - Temporary leakage due to external factors like medication, infection or a cough.
  • Structural incontinence - Sometimes, structural problems can cause incontinence. Structural incontinence is usually diagnosed in childhood. Fistulas caused by obstetric and gynecologic trauma or injury can lead to incontinence.
  • Bedwetting - Bedwetting is episodic urinary discharge while the person is asleep. It is normal in young children.
  • Giggle incontinence - Giggle incontinence is an involuntary response to laughter. It usually affects children.

What are the different types of disposable incontinence products?

There are many types of incontinence products available in the market which are all designed to handle different types of needs. Absorbent pads and various types of urinary catheters may help those individuals who continue to experience incontinence. The main types are:

  • Disposable Brief - These are adult diapers with tape tabs or Velcro tabs and are the most absorbent product.
  • Protective Underwear - Protective Underwear is a pull-up style diaper but are less absorbent than disposable briefs.
  • Belted Undergarments - Belted Undergarments are long pads with a belt that goes around the waist to hold it in place and are for urinary protection.
  • Bladder Control Pads - These are usually peanut-shaped and come in different sizes and absorbencies. All have waterproof barriers. Some are just for urinary incontinence and others are for both urinary and bowel incontinence.
  • Light Pads - They are a bladder control pad used by individuals who experience light bladder leaking but who have bladder control.
  • Day Heavy Pads - Day Heavy Pads are large bladder control pads that are used during the day for both bladder and/or bowel incontinence.
  • Night Super Pads - They are large pads that are used at night for both bladder and/or bowel incontinence.
  • Shield and Guards - They are designed for men for urinary incontinence.
  • Bed Pads or Disposable Underpads - Bed Pads are used to protect the sheets from being soiled.
  • Diaper Boosters - These are rectangular pads that can be used inside of a brief to increase absorbency. They do not have waterproof barriers or adhesive.
  • Liners - Liners are rectangular pads that can be used in any brief or panty and do have a waterproof barrier and an adhesive strip on the bottom.


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