A call has gone out for volunteers to test a new incontinence product for women.
Scientists have designed new ‘smart underwear’ for women who use incontinence pads and pants.
The innovative underwear aims to help women manage their incontinence better by letting them know if their incontinence pad has leaked.
According to the researchers, it is designed to give people “sufficient time to change before the urine leaks on to your clothes or furnishings, and before anyone else is aware of it”.
It does this with the help of fine threads which act as sensors and are connected to a discrete signalling unit that emits a series of vibrations in the event of leakage. Researchers from Brunel University and the University of Manchester are now ready to test the underwear in collaboration with the BioMed Centre, which was established in 1998 to improve continence management among older and disabled people. The study will be carried out at Southmead Hospital in Bristol and women over the age of 18 who regularly use incontinence pads are invited to take part.
In a statement, the BioMed Centre said: “Your participation would provide us with essential feedback on how the device worked for you and whether you found it helpful”. Volunteers will not be paid for taking part but will receive a £25 voucher.
Women who suffer from urinary incontinence as a result of pelvic organ prolapse may benefit from surgery, a gynaecologist has said.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a common disorder that affects half of all women over the age of 50. Symptoms include urinary incontinence, problems with bowel movements and recurrent bladder infections.
Dr Mary Ross, a board-certified obstetrician and gynaecologist with Women’s Health Specialists in the US, revealed that prolapse can cause “considerable” pain and discomfort, but that many women could benefit from surgery. She told the Murfreesboro Post that many surgeons use a mesh to support the organs.”Mesh is soft and has large pores designed to allow your body tissue to grow into it, providing a framework of support,” she explained.
“The best news about pelvic organ prolapse is that women do not have to live with it or its associated pain and discomfort. New surgical options are available that are safe and highly effective.” According to the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, a number of factors can worsen pelvic organ prolapse, including being overweight, chronic coughing and a history of pelvic surgery.
Women who are relying on incontinence products after giving birth may benefit from a new software program for the Nintendo Wii.
PhysioFun Pelvic Floor Training is designed to help women train their pelvic floor muscles, thereby reducing symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Developed in collaboration with the Dr Becker hospital group in Germany, the software contains a 30-day training programme, the intensity of which can be tailored to the individual. With just ten minutes a day, women can strengthen their pelvic floor muscles and follow their progress with the help of statistics.
The program could be beneficial for any woman with urinary incontinence, not just those who have recently given birth.
Thomas Claus, from the Dr Becker Hospital Group in Nuembrecht, said: “The PhysioFun Pelvic Floor Training provides significant training success, specifically with the postnatal exercises after pregnancy.
“We recommend its use also in connection with muscle-related urinary incontinence for seniors.”
According to the NHS Choices website, women who develop stress incontinence during pregnancy or in the first six weeks after giving birth are more likely to have stress incontinence five years later.
In addition, stress incontinence tends to be more common after a vaginal birth than a caesarean section.
Researchers are conducting a phase I/II clinical trial involving an experimental therapy for urinary incontinence. A total of 60 patients with urinary incontinence will take part in the trial, which some participants receiving the novel drug – called UISH001 – and others receiving a placebo (dummy drug).
The company is being trialled by Beech Tree Labs, which is based in Rhode Island, US.
About 200 million people around the world – including around 13 per cent of women and five per cent of men in the UK – are affected by urinary incontinence, so the drug could have important implications if shown to be effective.
Dr John McMichael, founder and chief executive officer of Beech Tree Labs, revealed: “The incidence of urinary incontinence is increasing as a consequence, in part, of our ageing society. “It represents an unmet medical need since most of the products now available are accompanied by adverse effects for a significant number of patients. This phase-IIa trial is being conducted to determine if UISH001 can meet that need.”
A previous small trial of the drug suggested that it may be effective at treating urge, stress and mixed incontinence.
Scientists at the University of Brighton are conducting research aimed at reducing the number of infections in care home residents who are given catheters as a way of managing incontinence.
Catheter blockage is a common problem and can cause serious kidney and bloodstream infections if left unnoticed. The problem is often caused by the accumulation of a bacterium called Proteus mirabilis on the surface of the catheter, where it causes the pH of urine to rise.
This in turn leads to the formation of crystals which form a crust on the catheter, blocking the flow of urine from the bladder.
Now, scientists at the University of Brighton have shown that preventing this rise in the pH of urine could help to prevent catheter blockages. Nina Holling, who presented the team’s findings at a Society for General Microbiology conference, said: “Long-term catheterisation is linked with an increased mortality rate among nursing home patients, and effective strategies to control these infections are urgently required.
“In the longer term, this would greatly benefit patients undergoing long-term catheterisation by eliminating painful recurrent infections, which greatly reduce quality of life. In addition, the financial savings to the NHS would be significant.”
According to a review of catheter use in people with urinary incontinence, published in the journal Continence Essentials in 2008, about 50 per cent of long-term catheter users will experience blockages at some stage.
Cutting back on coffee and tea may not significantly affect women’s reliance on incontinence products, a study has found.
Scientists at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute studied more than 14,000 twins and found that those who drank tea did not have a significantly increased risk of urinary incontinence.
In fact, when age was taken into account, those who regularly drank coffee actually had a slightly reduced risk of incontinence. Lead author Giorgio Tettamanti, whose findings are published in the journal BJOG, told Reuters Health that the results of previous studies on urinary incontinence and caffeine have been inconsistent.
He claimed: “What we found is not really surprising, but it goes against current knowledge.”
Nancy Nairi Maserejian, an epidemiologist who was not involved in the Swedish study, told Reuters Health that women who use incontinence products should not view the latest research as a reason to drink more coffee.
She explained: “I don’t think we can make a blanket statement from this study. Moderation is key and women have to talk to their physicians and decide what works for them.” At present, NHS experts advise people with urinary incontinence to cut back on caffeine and drink between six and eight glasses of fluids per day.
Care homes in Cornwall are taking part in a new scheme which could result in fewer patients needing to use incontinence pads.
NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is conducting the Stop, Think, Assess, Review (Star) initiative to reduce the prescribing of sedation and anti-psychotic medications in people with dementia. Staff at Asheborough House in Saltash have already seen improvements in a number of behaviours that are common in people with dementia, including aggression and incontinence, according to the Plymouth Herald.
Sharon Talbot, the care home’s matron manager, told the news provider that the decision to only use anti-psychotic drugs as a last resort had “transformed” the home.
She revealed: “Residents’ behaviour changed from being negative to positive; they can now show warmth and affection and we have introduced a whole series of activities and personal memory books to keep them interested and stimulated.”
Bev Chapman, clinical dementia lead for NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, agreed that the scheme was providing benefits.
She told the Herald: “In most cases, simple paracetamol has relieved the pain, making the symptoms of dementia more manageable.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, incontinence may occur in people with dementia for a number of reasons, both medical and non-medical. Medical causes of incontinence include urinary tract infections, prostate gland problems, side-effects of medication and constipation, while non-medical causes may include forgetting to go to the toilet or not remembering where the bathroom is.
The charity recommends a number of incontinence aids, including waterproof bedding, absorbent under-sheets and incontinence pads and pants.
Drinking plenty of green tea may help to reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence, a new study suggests. Researchers at Australia’s Curtin University discovered that the beverage may reduce middle-aged and older women’s reliance on incontinence pads – but that black tea is unlikely to provide the same benefits.
The research team recruited 40 to 75-year-olds for their study, 28 per cent of whom suffered from urinary incontinence.
Their analysis revealed that those who drank four or more cups of green tea per day were much less likely to have urinary incontinence than those who did not. Professor Andy Lee, from the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, revealed: “The difference between green tea and black tea is that the former is a non-fermented product. Both teas are produced from the leaves of Camelia sinensis, but green tea has undergone far less oxidation during processing, and it has far less caffeine.”
The professor, whose findings are published in the journal Neurourology and Urodynamics, suggested that women may want to start drinking green tea instead of other beverages in order to reduce their risk of urinary incontinence. His research is likely to be of interest to many, as figures suggest that more than 50 million people in the developed world are affected by incontinence.
Men who develop incontinence after undergoing prostate surgery may benefit from behavioural therapy, a new study shows.
US researchers recruited 208 men for a clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of behavioural therapy. Participants were aged 51 to 84 years and had been experiencing incontinence for between one and 17 years following surgery to remove their prostate. After eight weeks of treatment, the researchers found that men who underwent behavioural therapy typically experienced a 55 per cent reduction in episodes of incontinence, down from 28 instances to just 13 per week, on average. Improvements continued to be seen for the next 12 months, according to a report of the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study authors concluded: “Among patients with post-prostatectomy incontinence for at least one year, eight weeks of behavioural therapy, compared with a delayed-treatment control, resulted in fewer incontinence episodes.”
Incontinence is a common occurrence after prostate removal, with figures suggesting that up to half of men who undergo the procedure have urinary problems a year later.
New research suggests that an injectable bulking agent may help to improve symptoms of faecal incontinence and reduce the need for incontinence products. Swedish scientists carried out a clinical trial of the new treatment, which involves injections of a product called dextranomer and hyaluronic acid.
A total of 206 patients, aged 18 to 75, took part in the study and the researchers found that after six months, more than half of the participants had a 50 per cent or greater reduction in the number of episodes of incontinence. In contrast, just 31 per cent of patients who received a sham treatment reported a similar improvement. Dr Wilhelm Graf, from Akademiska Sjukhuset in Uppsala, Sweden, told Pulse magazine: “This treatment is easy to apply and safe and might be used as a treatment before more invasive techniques or as an additional or adjuvant treatment if other treatments do not give adequate symptomatic relief.” News of the trial is likely to be welcomed by many people, as about one per cent of adults in England are thought to need faecal incontinence products on a regular basis.