Women who are over the age of 65 appear to face an increased risk of persistent urinary incontinence following a procedure to fit a transobturator tape.
The device is a narrow strip of synthetic mesh that can be placed in the vagina to support the urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the genitals).
It is sometimes used to correct stress urinary incontinence and tends to be effective in 80 to 90 per cent of cases.
Scientists at the National Medical Centre in Seoul, South Korea, carried out a study to identify factors that may influence women’s chances of persistent incontinence following this type of procedure.
They studied 175 patients, all of whom had a transobturator tape fitted between May 2007 and August 2010 to address a combination of stress and urge adult incontinence.
Analysis revealed that 29.1 per cent continued to need incontinence supplies following the procedure and that the likelihood of this outcome was greater with increased age.
Publishing their findings in the Korean Journal of Urology, they concluded: “Our findings suggest that women who are older than 65 years may have an increased likelihood of persistent urge urinary incontinence after a transobturator tape procedure.”
Wales’ older people’s commissioner has expressed concerns about the treatment received by elderly people, including those with adult incontinence, when staying in NHS hospitals.
Ruth Marks published a damning report earlier this year, entitled ‘Dignified Care?, which found many older patients were receiving “shamefully inadequate” care in Welsh hospitals.
Ms Marks has now told the Western Mail that she remains unconvinced that patients are being treated with dignity.
She said that health boards and the Welsh government had responded to the report, but that “more does need to be done”.
“There is good and even excellent work in some areas, but there are inconsistencies and some absolute basics are still not there,” she revealed.
Earlier this year, Welsh ministers announced that the watchdog Healthcare Inspectorate Wales would be asked to carry out spot checks to ensure elderly patients are receiving a good standard of care in hospital.
These checks are likely to look at a number of issues, including dementia and the treatment of people with adult incontinence.
A new company in Ohio, US, is developing a device for people affected by male incontinence.
Continental Dry Works believes that men will prefer its new urinary incontinence product, called the Pocket, to existing adult diapers.
The product consists of a layer of absorbent material that sits inside a semi-rigid outer shell, MedCity News reports.
Company founder Heather Wilcox told the news provider that she used her design background to come up with the new device after watching her husband’s frustration with existing products following his surgery for prostate cancer.
She revealed: “I became exasperated with what was on the market.
“I started to think about designing something that would be invisible to the public but effective to the user.”
Ms Wilcox’s company now plans to obtain further funding so that it can commission a consumer study of the Pocket.
It will also be several months before patent protection is obtained.
Until then, men with urinary incontinence could try a number of other products, such as disposable incontinence pads and pants, or washable pouch pants.
People who are affected by adult incontinence may benefit from receiving injections of their own muscle cells, experts believe.
Scientists are currently conducting three clinical trials involving around 300 women to see if the therapy works, the Daily Mail reports.
The goal of the treatment is to improve the strength of the muscles around the bladder, thereby reducing women’s reliance on incontinence supplies.
Early research suggests that the majority of women with stress urinary incontinence are likely to benefit from the advance.
Dr Raj Persad, consultant urologist and senior clinical lecturer at Bristol University, told the Daily Mail: “This is a great contribution towards non-operative treatment of stress urinary incontinence.
“Wider-scale randomised trials are needed, but these results are encouraging.”
Stress incontinence is one of the two most common types of urinary incontinence and occurs where the pelvic floor muscles become too weak to prevent urination, particularly when coughing or laughing.
A council meeting at Kensington Town Hall was disrupted last week (July 21st) by protestors who are unhappy about a recent care decision.
Elaine McDonald, 67, recently lost her right to overnight care to help her use a commode, after the local council decided she could cope using incontinence pads.
The decision was supported at the Supreme Court, prompting concern from charities such as Age UK and the Stroke Association that the case could provide a precedent for other councils to withdraw vital services.
Councillor Fiona Buxton, head of adult social care, and the department’s executive director Jean Daintith met with local demonstrators, more than 70 of whom protested against the decision on Thursday.
“It is important to be aware that we provide services to many vulnerable residents and try to do so in a way which takes into account their needs and wishes,” Cllr Buxton told the Kensington & Chelsea Chronicle.
“However, we must also seek to balance the needs of one individual with the needs of many other people who look to us for support when deciding how our limited budget is spent.”
The councillor also insisted that Ms McDonald’s case was a “one-off” and that other cases would not be affected.
New research suggests that women with female incontinence should consider non-surgical therapies before resorting to surgery for the condition.
Scientists at Florida’s Cleveland Clinic analysed clinical trials involving women with adult incontinence in order to assess the effectiveness and safety of conservative and minimally invasive outpatient procedures for stress incontinence.
They looked at 32 clinical trials, all of which had followed participants for at least 12 months after treatment for their urinary incontinence.
Publishing their findings in the journal Advances in Urology, the study authors revealed that pelvic floor rehabilitation was associated with “significant improvements” if patients adhered to treatment.
The antidepressant duloxetine – which is sometimes given to patients with stress incontinence – was associated with high discontinuation rates, largely because patients suffered side-effects.
Finally, the researchers observed that the majority of patients who underwent an outpatient procedure called transurethral radiofrequency collagen denaturation or received urethral bulking agents experienced “significant” long-term improvements in their need for incontinence supplies.
The study authors concluded: “Conservative therapy is an appropriate initial approach for female stress urinary incontinence, but if therapy fails, radiofrequency collagen denaturation or bulking agents may be an attractive intermediate management step or alternative to surgery.”
Older people in north London, including those with adult incontinence, may have to be moved to a new location, after Haringey Council revealed plans to close three homes for the elderly.
The council says it was “forced” to close Broadwater Lodge, Cranwood and the Red House centre, as well as a respite home for adults with learning disabilities in Whitehall Street, in order to achieve its savings target.
All of the homes are due to be closed by March 2013, affecting up to 89 elderly and disabled people.
The council hopes to re-house residents in independent care homes in the borough, as well as facilities in neighbouring areas.
Dilek Dogus, cabinet member for health and adult services, told the BBC that the move was being taken with “much regret”.
She added that the council was “working hard with other providers, notably in the voluntary and independent sectors, to ensure that vulnerable adults continue to receive the care they require”.
Adult incontinence affects about 70 per cent of nursing home residents, according to Professor Cath Sackley, a scientist at the University of Birmingham.
Women who perform pelvic floor exercises on a regular basis tend to be less likely to experience stress urinary incontinence and gain better control over their bladder, it has been claimed.
Writing in the Daily Mirror, writer and medic Dr Miriam Stoppard has provided some useful pointers for women who are unsure of the technique.
She claimed: “The beauty of pelvic floor exercises is that once you’ve mastered how to do them, you can do them pretty much anywhere, any time.”
According to Dr Stoppard, women should start by identifying the relevant group of muscles – this can be done by stopping the flow of urine several times while urinating.
They should then practice tightening these muscles for five seconds, relaxing them for five seconds, then tensing them again.
Dr Stoppard noted: “You may not be able to hold the tension for the full five seconds at first, but you are likely to develop this ability as your pelvic floor muscles grow stronger.”
The muscles should then be tightened and relaxed ten times as quickly as possible, before contracting them for longer “in a more controlled fashion”.
“After about six weeks of these exercises, you should find stopping the flow much easier,” the expert claimed.
The charity Age UK has teamed up with the NHS Confederation and Local Government Group (LG Group) to set up a new commission focusing on dignity in care provided to older people in hospitals and care homes, many of whom are reliant on incontinence pads and pants.
The move follows recent reports on patient complaints from the Health Ombudsman and the inquiry into circumstances at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Experts will research what people expect in terms of dignity in care and establish ways to improve the situation across health and social care services.
Age UK chair Dianne Jeffrey explained: “This commission aims to build understanding of why and how older people’s essential care is going wrong and to set out practical solutions for getting it right in the future.”
Cllr David Rogers, chairman of the LG Group’s community wellbeing board, observed that public concern about the experiences of some patients and care home residents was “widespread and legitimate”.
He added: “The LG Group is very keen to play our part in finding practical ways in which we can raise standards and eliminate bad practice.”
Women who rely on incontinence pants or pads have been advised to seek timely treatment, as this could have a significant impact on their quality of life.
Writing on the Greater Kashmir website, Dr Harshdeep Joshi revealed that stress urinary incontinence is a common problem, affecting women of any age.
The medic explained that women with female incontinence may find their normal lifestyle restricted as a result of their condition.
She said: “Stress urinary incontinence can hamper normal life, restrict a woman’s routine and can have a negative impact psychologically leading to depression.
“So it’s advisable that they should get this treated well in time.”
For many women, the first stage may involve lifestyle changes, such as drinking six to eight glasses of water each day and reducing caffeine intake.
Another step that is likely to be recommended is pelvic floor muscle training, as this can help to strengthen the muscles and reduce leakage.
If these interventions do not have the desired effect, some women with incontinence may be offered medication, while others may be advised to seek surgical treatment.