Dealing with the problem of bladder control
The loss of bladder control is called “urinary incontinence” or less formally, and more easily, “UI.”
UI is a significant problem in this country, especially for adults. It is not a normal consequence of getting older. It has a significant medical, social, economic and psychologic impact. It is estimated that 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men are forced to deal with this problem on a daily basis.
Many of those trying to deal with UI never receive adequate professional help. Many people are too embarrassed or humiliated to seek help. Some people have seen their friends or relatives develop UI and are willing to accept it as part of life. Others have been told just put on a diaper, in itself a degrading, expensive and inadequate answer. Finally, there are those who think that surgery is the only solution and don’t see that as an acceptable option. Actually, many of the types of UI can be successfully managed with simple medications, most with minimal side effects.
UI can be classified into three types depending on their cause. “Urgency” with or without “Frequency,” and “Stress.” Urgency means having to hurry to the bathroom or the person will lose their urine. Frequency means having to urinate many times, day and night. Stress means loss of urine with coughing, sneezing or exercise. Any of these types can occur because the bladder is irritated, as known on TV as 1) Over active bladder or OAB where the bladder empties too often, or 2) Over flow incontinence where the bladder is not emptying well enough. Before medical therapy is suggested, a patient with UI needs to have his or her bladder examined by a trained medical professional who can easily diagnose which of these conditions exist and suggest appropriate medications and therapies.
The social effect of UI are obvious to those forced to deal with it: being afraid to go on trips, even shopping is a problem. One of the reasons why people are forced to leave their home and families and move to a nursing home is because of UI. The medical consequences include loss of sleep, urinary tract infections, skin problems and falls. Economic effects include the cost of diapers, not often paid for by insurance.
Help is available with trained medical providers. There is no need for anyone to have to put up with poor bladder control. Do not be afraid to ask for help. No one, man or woman needs to have their life controlled by poor bladder control.
There will be a class on this subject Wednesday, March 15, at 9:30 a.m., at the Beacon of HOPE, 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City.
It’s time to take charge of your life.
For additional information, call 239-283-5123 or beaconofhopepineisland.com