Enjoying Life with Chronic Urinary Incontinence
- On September 7, 2018
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Chronic urinary incontinence, on the other hand, cannot be fully treated. It is often caused by problems such as nerve damage and interstitial cystitis. It commonly affects individuals who have an inherited abnormality, or have impaired control mechanisms.
Are you unsure whether you have incontinence? Read about common incontinence symptoms to look out for.
Certain cognitive or neurological impairments that start at birth largely impact a person’s ability to control their bladder and bowel. Severe autism, for example, can make toilet management difficult. Language and communication around toileting can be confusing for those with severe autism. Those with severe autism may also not know how to communicate that they need the toilet, causing accident and confusion. They are also not as likely to learn new skills by copying other children, meaning they never learn bladder or bowel control. It is also common for people with severe autism and other disabilities to have sensory difficulties. While many of us are aware of when we need to empty our bladder, some people do not even register that their bladder or bowel is full. They simply might not even feel that their bladder is full.
Similarly, cerebral palsy is a condition that affects movement and co-ordination. This is due to a problem with the brain that occurs either before or after birth. In some people, it leads to chronic incontinence due to problems with movement and nerves. A study in 2014 aimed to assess the prevalence, type and impact of urinary problems in adults with cerebral palsy. 45.7 % of women in the study claimed they had leakage that occurred 2-3 times per week to several times per day. In the men, incontinence that occurred more often than occasionally was reported by 45.7%. The study concluded that there are high levels of all types of incontinence in adults with cerebral palsy.
Surprisingly, Multiple Sclerosis also often causes chronic urinary incontinence. Multiple Sclerosis damages nerves that send messages to your muscles, making them more difficult to control. The phrase “Multiple Sclerosis” refers to the scars that develop on the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Specific symptoms depend on which part of your nervous system has been affected. For many people however, the nerves responsible for sending signals to the bladder are damaged. Other symptoms of the condition are the following:
-Difficulty with coordination
-Constant tiredness and weakness
-Loss of control over general movement
-Lack of vision
Interested in learning more about Multiple Sclerosis? Read our blog on Multiple Sclerosis and Incontinence.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are born with physical birth defects that cause incontinence for life. Chronic incontinence is commonly caused by spinal birth defects and spinal injuries. This condition is often referred to as Neurogenic Bladder Disorder; with neurogenic referring to the nerve tissues that stimulate a muscle to function properly. The brain and spinal cord are the chains of command that send signals to the bladder. Spinal cord injury cord doesn’t need to be severe to cause paralysis below the injured level of the spine. Even bruising of the spinal cord or insufficient blood flow can affect your ability to transfer nerve signals. Anifa, a 5 year old boy from Nigera, was born with spina bifida. This condition is a birth defect where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. His parents explain, “life isn’t easy for us as he has no movement of his legs. He has no bowel and bladder control.” Unfortunately, Anifa’s incontinence cannot be fixed due to the severity of his condition. Anifa will likely face lifelong medical challenges. Frequently, individuals also experience chronic urinary incontinence due to paralysis. When a person falls and is severely injured on the spine and below, they lose the ability to move. As the sacral nerves are at the bottom of the spine, it is likely that someone will lose control of basic bodily action.
Staying Positive with Chronic Urinary Incontinence
Chronic urinary incontinence can be difficult to live with. A recent study focused on 300 individuals with chronic urinary incontinence. 70% of the individuals admitted that their quality of life was severely affected. However, there are things you can do to make it manageable. Follow our tips to enjoying life with chronic incontinence:
Talk to others in a similar position
It can be useful to go to a society or club with people in similar positions to you. You could search for online forums or watch advice videos from others in your situation. The internet can be a great place to socialise with others with incontinence.
Ensure your product is comfortable and absorbent enough
Your product should be both absorbent enough and comfortable for you. Products such as pull up pants, in particular, require a close fit to ensure leakages do not escape. Read our Product Guides section for information and guidance on choosing products. You should also consider which material feels comfortable on you, particular if you have sensitive skin. Find out how to choose pads for sensitive skin.
Distract yourself with music and entertainment
It can help not to be focused on incontinence all day. This could involve watching films you enjoy to take your mind off it, or listening to calming music.
Find a social circle you trust
Finally, it is vital to spend time around positive people who you can talk about your problems with incontinence with. Stay away from If you attend School with incontinence, talking to teachers and members of staff if you have any problems is important.