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Urinary and Faecal Incontinence Basics

Posted Jun 07 2010 6:48am

Although it might not be a subject you want to think about, if you are dealing with incontinence , the one thing you should not do is ignore it. Many have the incorrect assumption that nothing can be done to improve the condition but that is far from accurate.
Incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control, i.e. the loss of the ability to determine when and where urination and/or bowel movements may occur. Although rarely discussed it is actually a very common disorder experienced by as many as 6 million men and women of all ages.

Many find it difficult to manage, leading to frustration and even isolation and depression in the worse cases. Yet, incontinence is not a disease, but rather a symptom of underlying conditions that affect men and women of all ages and backgrounds.

The many causes of incontinence include pregnancy, surgery, infections or even just being overweight. It also can be triggered by a variety of other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and even diabetes.
There are also different types of incontinence • Stress incontinence : A small amount of urine is released by such everyday physical activities even ones as basic as, coughing, sneezing or laughing. This is generally due to weakened pelvic floor muscles and in many cases can be easily treated by activities such as pelvic floor exercises.

Urge incontinence : The urge to urinate comes on so suddenly that it is impossible to reach a toilet in time. This generally results in larger losses than stress incontinence. Bladder re-training may help improve this condition.

Overflow incontinence : The bladder is constantly filled, causing it to release small amounts of urine frequently.

Reflex incontinence : The absence of bladder control is due to impaired nerve function. This is often linked to other diseases.

Faecal Incontinence : Impaired rectal sensation or muscle control results in the loss of faeces (stools) or the staining of underclothes.

We always advocate discussing the symptoms with your own health professional as they are best placed to diagnose your own symptoms and condition and recommend appropriate treatments.

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