What is Incontinence?

What is Incontinence?

Incontinence is defined as the inability to control the bodily evacuative functions of urination or defecation. Incontinence can involve the loss of normal control of the bladder (called urinary incontinence) or the bowel (called bowel or fecal incontinence). Incontinence is not as uncommon a problem as people perceive it to be. Unfortunately, most people are not cognizant of this issue until this symptom affects them directly. It is reported that victims of incontinence have a tendency to feel embarrassed or ashamed and try to deal with this issue on their own.


Causes of Incontinence

Incontinence is a symptom. Contrary to what people think, incontinence is not a disease. Individuals become victims to urinary or bowel incontinence due to a problem that exists within their body. There are numerous reasons for causing incontinence which include: damage to nervous system, abnormality in prostate glands, weakening of the bladder muscles, diseases, among others. If you are experiencing urinary or bowel incontinence, it important to seek medical advice so your doctor can diagnose the cause.

To understand the cause of incontinence in men and women, let us examine how our body normally excretes waste. The kidneys continuously work to process blood and remove waste. This waste is mixed extra water to form urine and is stored in the bladder. As for solid waste, the formulation of stool occurs in the large intestines, also referred to as the colon. The large intestine primarily forms solid waste by absorbing water from any undigested food. The stool is stored is then stored in the rectum. As the bladder or rectum fills with waste, the nervous system signals that need to use the restroom. Simply put, the kidneys, large intestines, bladder, rectum, and nervous system play a cooperative role in the bodily excretory process. If a problem exists in any of these organs, our body may not be able to excrete waste as it should and possibly cause incontinence to occur.


Recognized causes of urinary and bowel incontinence affecting men and women are as follows:

Normal Aging. As we get older our bodies steadily degenerate as part of the aging process. It takes longer to recover from strenuous exercise compare to our teen years, our skin complexion is not as soft as a child’s, and our joints are not what they used to be… you get the point. It is normal that with age, our organs, including the brain, will get weaker. For this reason, incontinence is more prevalent in older generations.

Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that breaks down control of motor skills and muscle movement. Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system and is commonly recognized by muscle tremors of the limbs while resting. Parkinson’s disease prevents the brain from effectively sending messages throughout the body. Not all victims of Parkinson’s disease have symptoms of incontinence as this typically appears in later stages of the disease progression.

Neurological Diseases. Any disease that affects the nervous system, like Parkinson’s disease, can cause incontinence. The primary reason Multiple Sclerosis is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own central nervous system. As the nervous system breaks downs, the body is unable to function properly.

Abnormal Excretory Glands. There is a delicate balance to how excretory glands function and if one fails then incontinence can occur. Even surgery can result in one of the organs not functioning properly.

Although there are different causes to incontinence, it is not life threatening and many adults are still able to continue their lifestyle with some adjustments. There is a big fear with incontinence victims that an accident may occur at any time making isolation and depression a common symptom. Talking with your doctor will reveal treatment options available, exercises to minimize occurrence, and even product recommendations so a continued lifestyle is possible with adult incontinence.

What is Urinary Incontinence? | What is Fecal Incontinence?


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