Urinary incontinence is described as the inability to control your bladder, causing accidental urine loss from the bladder1. Common causes include an overactive bladder, changes in the nerves controlling the bladder, weak pelvic floor muscles or enlarged prostate (men)1.
Urinary incontinence can affect anyone at any time in their lives. Discussing incontinence can be uncomfortable, but it is so important to ensure you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment. Talking to a healthcare professional is the first step. Once finding out the kind of incontinence you have and what causes it, your healthcare professional can help find the best treatment.
Continence assessment will be dependent on the individual. A range of assessments and examinations are available. Some options in the initial stage of assessment include;
- Urine test. This will help see if you have a urinary tract infection.
- A blood test. Helpful to check the health of your kidneys1.
- Bladder diary. Taking note of how much you drink, how often you pass urine and how much urine you produce can help a healthcare professional understand your symptoms better1,2.
- Patient questionnaire. This can help you to better understand your symptoms and how they affect your everyday life. A questionnaire is also helpful for monitoring symptoms overtime2.
- Pad test. You would need to wear a pad for between 1 and 24 hours. The amount of urine absorbed by the pad would then be weighed2.
- Assessment of residual urine. Also known as 'post void residual urine', this assesses the amount of urine left in the bladder after urinating. This can be measured with the aid of a bladder scan or ultrasound2.
- A physical examination. This will assess the bladder and pelvic floor muscles for women or examine the prostate for men1.
Similar to assessment, incontinence treatment is dependent on the individual and sometimes more than one treatment is needed. It should be noted that treatment does not always mean a cure, but instead helps to improve your incontinence symptoms. Treatment varies from bladder training, medication or exercises to help strengthen muscles surrounding the bladder1. As a last resort, surgery may be an option.
Along with the above treatments, changes in your lifestyle can help manage incontinence. Normalising fluid intake and reducing caffeine consumption can improve those with overactive bladders who may be drinking over 3 litres per day. Ideally, an adult should be drinking between 2 –2.5 litres of fluid per day, as long as there are no other contraindications. If you are drinking less than 1.5 litres per day, increasing your fluid intake will be beneficial, once again provided there are no other contraindications. Further lifestyle advice for consideration is to make sure you have a healthy diet. This should be adopted to encourage regular, easy bowel movements. Being constipated can often make symptoms of urinary incontinence worse.
How continence products can help you
In addition to lifestyle changes, continence products can help improve your quality of life. Finding the right product that works for you is an individual choice. Dependent on the type of incontinence you have, a range of products are available including pads, external continence devices and catheters. Catheters can be used for certain types of incontinence and can be intermittent or indwelling; however an indwelling catheter should be a last resort. Lengths, sizes and coatings of catheters vary too. The Curan range of intermittent catheters from CliniMed are sterile and single use for men and women with incontinence who carry out intermittent self-catheterisation. Designed with you in mind, Curan catheters offer you a choice of coatings and styles. The Curan Man and Curan Lady catheters have a hydrogel coating, making them ready to use and mess-free with no liquid spillage. The Curan Advantage catheter range for men and women has a unique hydrophilic coating, ComfortCoat®, activated with a gentle squeeze of the water sachet.
Urinary sheaths are another option for men who have incontinence. BioDerm is an external one size fits all continence device for men, which attaches only to the tip of the penis, helping urine flow away from the skin. Similar to sheaths, BioDerm must be connected to a collection bag.
BioDerm can stay in place for up to 48 hours and is particularly suitable for men with retracted anatomy or retracted anatomy when sitting.
At CliniMed we work closely with healthcare professionals in hospitals and in the community, providing advice and education on continence products. Our sister company, SecuriCare (Medical) Ltd., offers a free Home Delivery Service for your continence products. Ordering is simple, your products will be delivered discreetly and you’ll receive a text message reminder with a 1-hour delivery window so you don’t have to wait in all day. You’ll be provided with a dedicated customer service team who will support your daily needs and offer expert advice. PharmaCare, SecuriCare’s in- house pharmacy, can deliver all your prescription medicines along with your appliances in one convenient package.
To find out more about any of our continence products, Home Delivery Service or to speak to one of our advisors about alternative products that could work for you, call the CliniMed Careline on 0800 036 0100 or visit our website www.clinimed.co.uk.
1. Age UK. (2017) Incontinence. Information and Advice. Available at: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/incontinence/
2. European Association of Urology. (2014) Assessment and Diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence. EAU Patient Information on Urinary Incontinence. 1-4.
Information contained in this Articles page which doesn’t state it has been written by talkhealth, has been written by a third party, who has not paid to be on the talkhealth platform, and has been published with their permission. talkhealth cannot vouch for or verify any claims made by the author, and we do not endorse any specific products, brands, or treatments mentioned. The content in our Articles pages should not be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine.
Last revised: 23 October 2019
Next review: 23 October 2020