Urinary incontinence (UI) is known to be common, more so in women than in men, but exact prevalence is difficult to pinpoint due to variables in study methodology, definitions of UI, and populations studied, according to recent research published in the August issue of Urology.
Brian S. Buckley, M.D., of the National University of Ireland in Galway (and a former Chairman of the Incontact charity), and colleagues identified, collated, and reviewed the best available evidence on Urinary Incontinence for the Fourth International Consultation on Incontinence.
The researchers found that most studies reported some UI in 25 to 45 percent of women; some UI in 7 to 37 percent of women aged 20 to 39 years; and daily UI in 9 to 39 percent of women more than 60 years old.
Prevalence in men was reported to be roughly half of that in women and to often be associated with surgery for prostate disease.
UI was observed in 11 to 34 percent of older men, with daily UI reported in 2 to 11 percent. About 10 percent of 7-year-olds, 3 percent of 11- to 12-year-olds, and 1 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds experienced some nighttime leakage. The researchers concluded that UI is common, but accurate data on prevalence are difficult to establish because of differences between studies in terms of UI definitions, methodologies, and populations.
Treatment for prostate cancer can cause debilitating side-effects, including incontinence, a loss of libido and impotence according to a recent article by Roger Dobson in the Daily Mail.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, accounting for one in four tumours. The disease mainly affects those over 50, and the risk rises with age. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland which lies underneath the bladder, surrounding the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder).
Doctors have recently developed a technique for reducing the risk of this happening – using a small balloon – A balloon implanted in the body and then blown up could help lessen the side effects of treatment for prostate cancer. Treatment often involves radiotherapy to kill cancerous cells. During the procedure, high-energy X-ray beams are directed at the prostate. Unfortunately, radiotherapy can also damage healthy cells surrounding the gland.
In some cases, this damage is short-term – side-effects, including tiredness and diarrhoea, last only a few weeks or months. But in others the damage is more severe, leading to urinary incontinence, a loss of libido and in 30-to-50 per cent of patients an inability to maintain an erection.
Scientists believe the new treatment, known as the SpaceGuard Balloon, will reduce this risk as it is designed to create space around the prostate, pushing healthy tissue out of the radiotherapy’s line of fire. The balloon is placed next to the prostate. It is then filled with fluid until about the size of a peach. This acts as a shield for the healthy tissue.
The device, on trial at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in the U.S., and other centres, is implanted under a local anaesthetic. First, a tiny incision is made in the skin,and the folded and deflated balloon is inserted. A syringe is then used to inflate the balloon using saline solution.
The procedure takes around 30 minutes and can be done on an outpatient basis. The implant, developed by Israel-based BioProtect, is designed to dissolve after three to six months, the usual length of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer.
Researchers believe it will improve the safety and effectiveness of the therapy. It may also mean that the radiation dose can be increased, while damage to healthy tissue is reduced.
Dr Raj Persad, a urologist at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Southmead Hospital, says: ‘This new technology will enable clinicians to locate more precisely the exact tissue to target. ‘Apart from reducing side-effects, it may also lead to a reduction in the amount of overall radiation the body receives. I look forward to seeing the results of the study.’
Although 1 in 10 of the male population over 65 experience urinary incontinence, until recently the taboos around male incontinence have been even greater than those surrounding the condition for women.
However, we are seeing this situation slowly changing, helped by an increasing number of products specifically designed for male use.
We’ve just added Lil for Men products to our male incontinence products range, both Lil for Men Extra and Lil for Men Super offer a large coverage area for extra security and are discreet and comfortable to wear.
These additions to our range supplement the recently relaunched Tena Men’s range which is now known as TENA Men. The packaging of these products has been changed to become more masculine, more discreet and more consumer-friendly although the product range remains the same, with Tena Men Level 1 and Tena Men Level 2 both available. The improved side elastics allow for greater comfort and ensure a better fit to the body. TENA Men incontinence pads also contain their unique Odour Control™ system that neutralises potential odours for complete confidence. The re-launch of Tena Men Level 1 sees the development of the product to become smaller and more discreet.
Incontinence affects nearly 30% of women over the age of 60 and incontinence pads for women or other incontinence products are the most common method to manage the condition. But that might be changing.
Incontinence in women is often stress incontinence brought on by the pressures and injuries that occur to the pelvic floor muscles as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. As women age, that beat up group of muscles starts to lose tone, just like any other muscle group, and that decreases the support of the organs in the abdomen including the bladder.
With this decreased support, the bladder becomes easily influenced by both internal and external pressure and may cause an involuntary discharge of urine as a result. Laughing, sneezing, coughing or doing rigorous exercises can be the source of sufficient pressure to cause a leakage.
Incontinence pads and pants have been the traditional method of dealing with this issue. However, a study done in Sweden of over 10,000 women seems to suggest that oral contraceptives may have a positive role on controlling stress incontinence. The study showed that women who had taken these contraceptives before menopause experienced decreased rates in both stress and urge incontinence after menopause. There was also a decrease in overactive bladder (urge incontinence) but it was statistically insignificant.
Traditionally it was thought that giving hormones to post menopausal women only worsened the condition. What the Swedish study discovered is that the hormones work differently on women before they reach menopause and that interaction of hormones apparently at least forestalls the incidence of urinary incontinence when the women become older.
It would appear that rather than stocking up on incontinence pads for women, in the future older women could ask their doctors about the possibility of using oral birth control instead. There are obviously other therapies available with proven effects such as diet and exercise but it is would be nice to know that in the future there may be another option
With so many different products available nowadays that will manage incontinence it can prove difficult in determining exactly which ones to use. So in order for you to determine which sort of incontinence product you should be using we offer some guidelines below that you may find very helpful.
The things which you must be looking for when it comes to making purchase of such products are as follows:
1. What form of incontinence do you experience? E.g. Stress, urge and faecal incontinence all have different needs (e.g. high absorbency to cope with large amounts of liquid in a single episode for urge incontinence).
3. Will they fit in comfortably with the kind of lifestyle that you like to lead? E.g. can they be removed easily? Pull up underwear is far easier for most mobile people.
4. How much comfort do they provide you with? E.g. a smaller incontinence product is more comfortable to be worn, even if it means slightly more frequent changing.
6. How much liquid can they retain before they need replacing?
Once you know the solutions to these questions then you can select the products that you feel are most likely to fit your needs well. Also of course you need to take into account your gender as the design of the product may differ for men and women.
So now you are going to buy some incontinence products but are still unsure exactly what to purchase? Here we offer a number of tips that you may find very helpful indeed.
Tip 1 – Don’t rush into purchasing the first product you come across it is worth spending some time doing some research into what is available. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours going from one store to another instead why not look to see what is available by going online. There are various websites such as www.allaboutincontinence.co.uk that are experts in supplying such items and will provide you clear and concise specifics of how each product works.
Tip 2 – As you do carry out your research don’t limit yourself to one particular brand such as Tena. In this way you can get a better idea about how much the item you are considering purchase will cost. As you will soon discover the prices can vary quite a bit from one brand to another and you could end up saving yourself quite a tidy sum on your purchase by spending those few extra minutes doing some comparison shopping, or feel that the extra spent on a quality brand is worthwhile.
Tip 3 – It is important to know that the designers of incontinence products such as Tena and Lille don’t tend to use the same sizing systems. Plus the way that these products are made means that the way that they fit will differ quite a bit. So make sure that you check the size charts for the various products carefully to ensure that you get the right size that will fit well but also comfortably.
It is also a good idea to try several different products out before you make your final purchase for example by purchasing a incontinence sample pack.
Hopefully the tips we have offered above when it comes to purchasing incontinence products will ensure that you manage this kind of problem more effectively. So of course allowing you to lead the kind of lifestyle you want.