Within the elderly population, malfunction and age-related changes of the lower urinary tract (LUT) are very common and accompanied by a decrease in bladder capacity, as well as an increasing detrusor (a muscle which forms a layer of the wall of the bladder) over-activity. Hence, treating bladder dysfunction in time is essential.
The WHO has also said that incontinence is a largely preventable and treatable condition and that it’s “certainly not an inevitable consequence of ageing,” adding that “the most typical reaction exhibited by patients when they are diagnosed with poor bladder control was not fear nor disbelief, but relief.”
Older people are more susceptible to incontinence and this can have a huge impact on daily activities. This happens because the bladder and the urethra undergo some changes as you grow old. The volume of urine that the bladder can hold starts to decrease. If left untreated, it will not go away. So, here are few effective ways for treating bladder dysfunction :
- Bladder Control Pads
For discreet daytime protection against unexpected urinary leaks, incontinence pads can give elders with light bladder leakage a peace of mind. Lightweight bladder control pads are designed for maximum absorption with minimum visibility. These discreet bladder pads are perfect if you’re looking for protection that can be worn with your own underwear.
- Kegel Exercises
For treating bladder dysfunction, Kegels increase support to the urethral sphincter and detrusor (bladder) muscle, thereby preventing stress, urge and mixed urinary Incontinence, and are most appropriate in people who:
- Do not have cognitive impairments
- Are motivated to comply with the program and
- Have a pelvic floor that is neurologically intact because of old age
- Intermittent Self-Catheterization
Intermittent Self-Catheterization (ISC) is a safe and effective alternative method to empty the bladder. ISC involves inserting a catheter (a flexible hollow tube) into the urethra (the urine channel that drains urine from the bladder) several times a day. ISC is used to help protect the kidneys, prevent incontinence (urine leakage) and lessen the number of infections by promoting good drainage of the bladder while lowering pressure inside the bladder.
It has been used successfully for individuals with injury to the nerves of the bladder, spinal cord and brain as well as in persons with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, enlarged prostate and continent urinary diversion.
The cost and coverage will depend on your medical plan and whether you are prescribed a generic. The most commonly prescribed UI drug class is muscarinic receptor blocker. Three of these medications are generic so they will be much cheaper. These are Oxybutynin (Ditropan), Tolterodine (Detrol) and Trospium (Sanctura).
A holistic assessment by a nurse who has a good understanding of incontinence in older people can identify the cause and enable an appropriate plan of treatment. For many individuals, this will result in a cure or improvement in their incontinence and help to treat bladder dysfunction greatly, which will help both the patient’s and their caretaker’s quality of life.