Incontinence is one of those things that can affect anyone at any age. But let’s face it — it’s a lot more common in elderly individuals. As you age, it becomes harder to hold all your urine in without it dribbling out. And when you throw in a cough or a sneeze, you might let out a little more than you bargained for.
Dealing with incontinence as an elderly adult isn’t always easy, but there are ways you can cope while still maintaining the life you’ve always imagined. Here’s how to deal with urinary incontinence as an older adult.
What Is Incontinence?
There are a few different types of incontinence that you’re likely to experience as an older adult. Stress incontinence is one of the most common, which occurs when excess pressure on the bladder causes you to leak or dribble a little bit.
There’s also urge incontinence when you feel a sudden, strong urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. Overflow incontinence happens when you frequently dribble urine due to not emptying the bladder completely.
Another form that is much more common in older adults is called functional incontinence. This is when an underlying condition physically prevents you from making it to the bathroom to do your business. Cognitive disorders like dementia and physical disorders such as severe arthritis are both reasons you might lose your urine.
There’s also fecal incontinence which is the loss of bowel control. Urinary incontinence is a lot more common, but they sometimes go hand in hand, depending on how severe underlying conditions might be.
Why Does Aging Cause Incontinence?
Incontinence is not a “normal” part of aging, as in, it’s not something that is to be expected as you grow older. However, it is common. It’s estimated that 11 percent of men over 60 experience some form of overactive bladder.
There are many reasons why incontinence can happen, including urinary tract infections, constipation, or bladder irritation. But in older adults, common risk factors include:
- Overactive bladder muscles
- Weakened pelvic floor muscles
- Diseases that make it difficult to get to the bathroom
- Damage to bladder nerves from Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis
- Pelvic organ prolapse
When incontinence happens in older men, it is usually related to the prostate. The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It’s responsible for the production of semen.
However, since it is so close to the bladder, inflammation of the gland or injury to the organ can affect your ability to hold your bladder correctly.
How Can I Manage Incontinence?
As an older adult, you don’t need to let bladder loss prevent you from doing everything that you love doing the most. There are ways to manage it without completely upending your life. Here are some lifestyle remedies to deal with incontinence.
When it rains, you put up an umbrella. And while bladder loss can be even more unpredictable than the weather, you can still wear protection to absorb those leaks whenever necessary. Incontinence products are one of the first lines of defense against bladder leaks.
Here’s the thing, many of those products are marketed toward women. Incontinence pads are flat, absorbent pads worn in undergarments to absorb urine loss. And if you think about what you’re packing down there, you can see why a flat product might not be the best choice.
That’s where Male Drip Protection, or MDP, swoops in to save the day. It’s more of a sleeve than a pad; it can fit over your manhood like a glove. This means you’re getting 360-degree protection from incontinence without fear of the product slipping and sliding around.
Plus, it’s got a two-strap design that lets you tighten and loosen as you wish, letting you adjust the piece throughout the day to suit your comfort levels better. It also uses a cloth-like fabric that lets you have all-day comfort as you run, play golf, lift weights, and do everything in between.
It’s the perfect solution for guys with slight incontinence. MDP can hold up to two ounces of liquid — that’s a lot of drips and dribbles — giving you peace of mind throughout the day.
The best way to see the difference is to feel it for yourself. And no, you don’t need to throw away your underwear to put it on — it works on boxers, briefs, and any type of underwear you find best. Try it out today and get back to doing what you love without stress.
Certain habits and lifestyle routines can worsen incontinence or put you at a greater risk of developing bladder loss. One of the biggest contributors is smoking.
Smoking can irritate the lining of your bladder directly, but it can also lead to coughing spasms, putting pressure on the bladder and making you lose some of your urine. Try to limit those cigars if you can.
And while we hate to admit it, those morning cups of coffee might be causing you to leak too. Caffeine, as well as acidic drinks and foods, can irritate your bladder and make you need to go to the bathroom more often. So try limiting your caffeine intake, or switch to decaf whenever possible.
Finally, alcohol is another trigger that can irritate the bladder more heavily than other beverages. We’re not here to say you should stop enjoying what you love, but we are here to say that it never hurts to be mindful of how often you use these triggers throughout your day-to-day life.
Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Your pelvic floor muscles are in between your tailbone and your groin. These muscles are responsible for holding your bladder in and releasing it to let urine out. When you have a weakened pelvic floor, it can be harder to control when and where you urinate.
Pelvic floor exercises are as simple as tightening those muscles for a few seconds during a 15-minute period. Over time, you’ll be able to hold each squeeze for longer and build up strength in your pelvis to handle urinary incontinence better. Consult your doctor before starting any pelvic floor exercises.
Drink More Fluids
You read that right. While it might seem counterintuitive to drink more fluids when you struggle with incontinence, that might be exactly what you need to start doing.
Many people with incontinence will drink less water throughout the day to lessen the number of times they need to make a trip to the restroom. The issue here is that it can lessen your bladder’s capacity and make it so that you urinate more often.
Aim to drink around six to eight glasses of water daily. This will ensure proper health and wellness while allowing your bladder to be filled in the way it should.
When Should I See a Doctor for Incontinence?
Incontinence is not a normal part of aging, even though it is pretty common. If you experience bladder loss to a point where your daily life is becoming affected, it is always a good idea to visit a doctor.
You should also see a doctor before taking any form of medication to fight off incontinence. Many of these come with side effects that might be unwanted, so you’ll want to check with a professional before you accidentally do more harm than good.
Urinary incontinence is common as you age and your pelvic muscles become weaker. But it doesn’t mean you need to lose your independence completely. Avoiding triggers like caffeine, doing pelvic floor exercises, and drinking the right amount of fluids can help you avoid bladder leakage.
But sometimes, those drips and dribbles are inevitable. When this happens, MDP has your back. It’s a soft, discreet, and effective way to control bladder leakage without embarrassment and shame. It’s easy to use, can hold up to two ounces, and can be adjusted throughout the day.
Try it out for yourself to feel the difference that a worry-free incontinence product can make.