About Incontinence

Here you can explore some issues surrounding incontinence. If you are looking for specific information, please feel free to contact us, and we will try to help.

You may find our Types and Causes of incontinence section insightful, and our Best-Practices useful for caregiving and treating Individuals.

Incontinence issues

The anatomy of incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a problem of the urinary system, which consists of two kidneys each connected to a bladder via a tube called a ureter. A single tube, the urethra, connects the bladder to the outside of the body.

Kidneys remove wasteproducts from the blood and produce urine. The ureters move urine from the kidneys to store it in the bladder until it flows out of the body through the urethra. A circular muscle called the sphincter controls the activity of the urethra.

In normal circumstances, the bladder stores urine until it is convenient to urinate, but incontinence can result when part of the urinary system malfunctions.

What is incontinence?

Incontinence means the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control and is a symptom, not a condition in itself. There are a wide variety of conditions and disorders that can bring about incontinence, including birth defects, the effects of surgery, nerve damage, infection, and changes associated with aging. It can also occur as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.

Incontinence exists among children, men and women of all ages. At some stage during their lives, 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 8 men will be affected.

The scale of the condition varies too – in the case of urinary incontinence, from small and infrequent dribbles, to the occasional loss of bladder control or a total inability to hold urine.

Read more here about the different types, causes and treatments of incontinence.

Incontinence and aging

Aging causes a number of changes in the urinary system that can cause incontinence:

  • Less bladder elasticity lowers capacity and causes more frequent voids
  • Higher urine volume means that kidneys concentrate urine less efficiently
  • Weaker detrusor muscle causing incomplete emptying
  • Increase in spontaneous contractions of detrusor muscle
  • Less able to postpone urination
  • Less urethral closing pressure

However, despite affecting a large number of older men and women, urinary incontinence should not be seen as a normal part of aging. It is a disruption of the physical and/or mental processes of storing urine and emptying the bladder at a convenient time, a disruption that can often be treated.

Many older people are unduly affected by the inconvenience and embarrassment of incontinence. Professional care can help many Individuals and their families manage the condition successfully. Discreet and effective incontinence protection plays a key role in minimizing the effects and helping restore normal life.

* The site does not offer medical advice and nothing contained in the site is intended to constitute professional advice for medical diagnosis or treatment.