Managing Incontinence in Older Adults
Today, urinary incontinence is a very treatable issue. While a doctor is best suited to fully treat your loved one's condition, it may be helpful to consider these incontinence tips:
Bladder Control Training
It is completely possible for your loved one to train their bladder and improve how it stores and empties urine. Here are a few examples of how this can be done:
Pelvic Muscle Exercises: Kegels
This exercise targets the muscles that you use to stop urinating. These muscles stop the flow of urine. Making these muscles stronger can help an individual hold urine in their bladder longer. These exercises are easy to do and can lessen stress and urge incontinence. Your loved one would likely benefit most by doing sets of these several times a day. A doctor can give you specific directions.
Biofeedback is a method of making your loved one aware of signals from their body. This may help them regain control of the muscles in the bladder and urethra. Biofeedback may be combined with pelvic muscle exercises. Ask a doctor how to implement this sort of practice.
Charting urination and leaking to determine the pattern can be very helpful. Once a pattern is identified, you will know when to help your loved one to the bathroom. At those times, they can empty the bladder before they might leak. Consider combining this practice with biofeedback and pelvic muscle exercise.
Lifestyle Changes to Control Incontinence
There are a number of dietary changes that can help improve bladder control:
Eliminate Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol have both been identified as contributing factors to incontinence. It may also be necessary to cut back slightly on fluid consumption in general if your loved one normally consumes a lot of fluids (consult their doctor first).
Limit Spicy, Acidic, and Carbonated Food Products
Other foods that may worsen incontinence are spicy foods, high-acid foods such as citrus fruits and juices, and carbonated drinks. If you notice that symptoms of urinary incontinence worsen in your loved one after they consume one of these types of foods, consider limiting them in the diet.
Drink More Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice has been known to improve bladder function.
Medical Procedures for Incontinence
When lifestyle adjustments are not adequate, turn to your doctor for additional suggestions. In some cases, these may include: