Millions of Americans aged 65+ suffer from urinary incontinence, an embarrassing condition that can also cause serious health problems. As a leaking of urine that can’t be controlled, urinary incontinence affects between a quarter and a third of all seniors. Fortunately, incontinence isn’t always a normal part of the aging process. As an informal caregiver, helping an aging loved one who has urinary incontinence stay active will help ensure that they enjoy a higher quality of life.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
The many different types of urinary incontinence include:
- Stress incontinence. As the unintentional passing of urine through the urethra due to weakened pelvic floor muscles, stress incontinence typically occurs when a person sneezes or laughs.
- Overactive bladder (OAB). Also called surge incontinence, OAB occurs when the urge to urinate comes on suddenly, resulting in leakage.
- Total incontinence. When their bladder cannot store any urine, it can make the person have a constant urge to pass urine.
- Overflow incontinence. This occurs when other conditions cause an individual to be unable to completely empty their bladder.
- Functional incontinence. Common in the elderly, functional incontinence is when the person has a normal urge to urinate but cannot get to the toilet in time due to physical or cognitive impairments.
Urinary incontinence often results from treatable conditions like constipation or a urinary tract infection (UT