Urinary incontinence in the elderly + its types, diagnosis and treatment

Urinary incontinence in the elderly depends on what factors? Is there a cure for urinary incontinence in the elderly? What are the causes of urinary incontinence in the elderly? Although urinary incontinence can be seen at any age, it is more common among the elderly, that is, one out of every five people over 40 years of age suffers from symptoms of overactive and irritable bladder, urge incontinence or frequent urination. Some people also face urinating before reaching the bathroom. Also, at least 50% of the residents of nursing homes face the problem of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence in the elderly is a common part of the aging process, but seniors should not think that they have to deal with this problem for the rest of their lives. In the continuation of this article on the diseases and health of the elderly in Dr. Salam, we will explain completely about urinary incontinence in the elderly.

Classification of types of urinary incontinence in the elderly

There are different types of urinary incontinence in the elderly:

stress incontinence

Occurs when urine is expelled due to pressure on the bladder due to activities such as exercising, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. This type of bladder control problem is the most common type in middle-aged girls and women, which begins near menopause.

Urgent incontinence

It occurs when a person has a sudden need to urinate and cannot hold it until going to the bathroom. This can be problematic for people with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS or stroke.

Overflow incontinence

It occurs when a small amount of urine is released from the bladder, which is always full. If the enlarged prostate has blocked the urinary tract, men can face the problem of emptying the bladder. Diabetes and spinal cord injury can also cause this type of incontinence.

Functional incontinence

It occurs in most older people who have normal bladder control. They only have trouble going to the bathroom because of arthritis or other disorders that make it difficult to move quickly.

Urinary incontinence in the elderly

Diagnosing urinary incontinence in the elderly

The first step in the treatment of urinary incontinence in the elderly is to see a doctor. The doctor will perform a physical exam, take your medical history, and ask you questions about your symptoms and medications you are taking. The doctor will ask you to tell him if you have recently been sick or had surgery. It will also ask you to do tests including urine tests, blood tests, and tests that show how much you empty your bladder. In addition, your doctor will ask you to keep a diary of when you urinate and when you become incontinent. Your pediatrician may refer you to a urologist (urinary tract disease specialist).

Treatment of urinary incontinence in the elderly

Today, there are more and more treatments for urinary incontinence in the elderly. The choice of treatment depends on the type of bladder control problem, its severity and the suitability of the treatment with your lifestyle. As a general rule, the easiest and fastest treatment should be tried first. Bladder control exercises can be effective in improving your bladder control. Your doctor may suggest the following exercises:

Pelvic muscle training

Also known as Kegel exercises, this method works the muscles you use to hold urine. Strengthening these muscles will help you hold urine longer in your bladder.


It uses sensors to alert you to signs and symptoms from your body. This will help you regain adequate control over your bladder and urinary tract muscles. Biofeedback It can be useful when learning pelvic floor exercises.

Urinary incontinence in the elderly

Scheduled disposal

This method can help with bladder control. In this method, the person urinates according to a schedule, for example, every one hour. You can slowly increase the time between each load. When timed voiding is combined with biofeedback and pelvic floor muscle exercises, you’ll find that you can more easily control urge and overflow incontinence.

Change in lifestyle

It can be helpful in eliminating urinary incontinence in the elderly. Losing weight, quitting smoking, quitting alcohol, drinking less caffeine (found in coffee, tea, and many carbonated drinks), preventing constipation, and avoiding heavy lifting can help improve incontinence. Also, substituting water for other drinks and limiting their consumption before bedtime is also helpful.

Urinary incontinence in the elderly and Alzheimer’s disease

People with late stages of Alzheimer’s disease often have problems with urinary incontinence. This happens because they don’t realize they need to urinate or they forget to go to the bathroom or they can’t find the bathroom. To reduce the possibility of similar incidents, their caregivers can:

  • Avoid giving drinks such as coffee, tea and carbonated drinks that increase urination. Of course, it should not limit water consumption.
  • Always illuminate the paths with a lamp and keep the toilet area neat and orderly and away from panic.
  • Make sure you set regular times for going to the bathroom.
  • Get suitable underwear that is easy to put on or take off.
  • When you leave the house, use an absorbent under your clothes.

Urinary incontinence in the elderly

Control and management of urinary incontinence in the elderly

In addition to bladder control exercises, you can talk to your doctor about other ways to manage urinary incontinence in the elderly. When urinating, medications can help empty the bladder completely. Other medications can cause muscle stiffness and decrease urine output. Some women have found that using an estrogen vaginal cream can help relieve stress and urge incontinence. Use a small amount of estrogen cream directly on the vaginal walls and urethra tissue. A doctor may inject a substance that thickens the area around the urethra to help close the opening of the bladder. This method can reduce stress incontinence in women. This treatment may need to be repeated.

Some women may be able to use medical devices such as a urethral insert, which is a small disposable device that is inserted into the urethra. A pessary is a hard ring that enters the vagina and prevents urine leakage if the patient has prolapsed bladder or vagina. Nerve stimulation is another option, in which a mild electrical current is sent to the nerves around the bladder that help control urination. Sometimes surgery can improve or cure incontinence caused by changes in bladder position or obstruction by an enlarged prostate.

From time to time, despite the treatment, some people experience leakage of urine. For this group of people, there are bladder control products and other solutions. Solutions such as using adult diapers, special mattresses, anti-diuretic pills and special skin cleansers can help you to urinate less.

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