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Archive for January, 2009

Incontinence Frequently Asked Questions



Incontinence Frequently Asked Questions

Author: http://www.bedpad.info

AM I ALONE IN DEALING WITH INCONTINENCE?
No, you’re not alone! It is estimated that as many as 25 million people in North America are affected in varying degrees by the inability to completely control urination or bowel movements, with higher occurrences for women and the elderly. Bladder weakness is a symptom, not an illness. It can also be a sign of something else happening in the body, not just a sign of aging.

WHAT IS INCONTINENCE?
Incontinence is the loss of bladder and/or bowel control. It is NOT an illness or disease. A wide variety of conditions and disorders can cause incontinence. These can or may include: birth defects, pelvic injuries or surgeries, damages to the spinal cord, neurological diseases, multiple sclerosis, infections, and degenerative changes that are a result of aging. It can be a temporary issue or a permanent one depending on its cause.

HOW DOES THE URINARY SYSTEM WORK?
The urinary system comprises two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder and a urethra. It is the kidneys’ job to remove waste from our blood and to continuously produce urine. The tube-like ureters moves the urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder stores the urine until it flows out of the body via the tube-like urethra. The sphincter muscle although not part of the urinary system can play a major role in incontinence as it controls the activity of the urethra. Normally the bladder stores the urine and then releases it at the appropriate time, however, if any part of the urinary system malfunctions incontinence can occur.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF BLADDER WEAKNESS?
The most common causes are:

* Relaxation of the pelvic muscles, often seen in women who have had several children.
* Reduced muscle control that can occur with menopause.
* Infections or inflammation of the bladder or the urethra.
* Nervous system disorders.
* Aggravation to the bladder caused by alcohol, caffeine or medications.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF INCONTINENCE?
Yes, and in some cases more than one type of incontinence may be identified for an individual.

* Stress Incontinence – Is associated with intermittent leakage of small amounts of urine which often happens when one exercises, coughs, sneezes or laughs. This commonly affects women and may occur after multiple child births or menopause. Other causes may include damage to the pelvic region or the sphincter muscle.
* Urge Incontinence – Is the sudden, urgent need to urinate and the inability to get to a toilet in time. This occurs when the nerve passages between the bladder and brain are damaged. Stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and MS can all cause urge incontinence. It can also be caused by something as simple as a urinary tract infection.
* Overflow Incontinence – This occurs when the quantity of urine created/produced exceeds the limitations of the bladder for storage. The bladder’s failure to contract as it should or being unable to release urine due to an obstruction of the urethra results in the overflow condition. It can be caused by diabetes, pelvic damage or surgery, spinal cord injuries, MS and/or other diseases. Constipation, medications, and enlarged prostate gland can also cause this form of incontinence.
* Fecal Incontinence – Inability to control bowel movements or gas; includes liquid and/or solid stool. It can vary from being partial, involving only a small amount of liquid waste to being unable to control entire solid bowel movements. This form of incontinence can be caused by neurological diseases, musculoskeletal disorders or injuries to the pelvic area.
* Functional Incontinence – Physical or cognitive limitations that prevent an individual from reaching a toilet. This can be a result of environmental barriers , such as being too far away from a bathroom, or psychiatric problems.

SHOULD I TALK TO MY DOCTOR?
Yes...It is estimated that 80% of those affected by urinary incontinence can be cured or have their condition improved. There are 3 major categories of treatment to address your condition: behavioral, pharmacological, and surgical. An examination can help find the cause and determine ways to correct or manage the condition. The earlier you seek medical help for you or your loved one, the sooner change can begin.

ARE THERE THINGS I CAN DO TO HELP MYSELF?
Most assuredly there are changes that we can make to our lifestyles that can enhance our quality of life. Two key factors are diet and exercise. As always it is best to discuss changes to your current diet and exercise level with your physician.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?
The internet today provides unlimited sources of information on incontinence. Two highly respected organizations for this type of information are:

* National Association for Continence (NAFC) www.nafc.org
* The Simon Foundation for Continence www.simonfoundation.org

Is Selecting the Right Incontinence Product Important?

Yes! Improper product selection can have serious consequences:

* Wetness against skin can cause the skin to break down. Attends products quickly capture voids and lock them in the product core for healthier skin.
* Urine or feces against skin increases pH and causes offensive odor. Attends’ unique SDO (Skin Wellness, Skin Dryness, and Odor Control) with treated fibers help maintain a low pH environment for healthier skin and odor control.
* Improper product selection can cause leakage and embarrassment. Attends has designed the Total Incontinence Protection System (T.I.P.S.) specifically to help with the right product choice, assuring containment and increased personal self-confidence.
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A Few Things To Think Over Before You Buy A Wheelchair

Finding the right mobility wheelchair for you or anybody in your family can put you in a spot of indecision, because of the numerous choices of mobility wheelchair types that are being sold in the market today. They differ in cost, brand, feature, size, and other factors that would make it albeit harder for you to finally pick the right product.

In every purchase, you can be either a winner or a loser for the product that you bought, but money and effort invested in searching for the mobility wheelchairs should not be put at stake. Here is the no-loser’s guide to buying the perfect mobility wheelchair.

•Of course, consulting your doctor or physical therapist should be the first step. Your physician will assess your condition and advise you of certain features and functionality that should be present in your wheelchair.

•Window shop before buying. If possible, give a good look at all brands with the particular model at hand and make comparisons on their features and prices. This way, you get to see the differences in each brand and have a better insight on products.

•Consider the space in your home as well, or the idea of travel with the wheelchair along. These factors will also affect the size of wheelchairs you intend to buy.

•Sleep it over. Sometimes it really helps to sleep and relax after giving much thought about your future purchase. It gives you a more balanced view and grasp on things. However, if it cannot wait, then get a breather for 30 minutes or so. Believe me, you will get to have a clearer decision out of this and refrain from buying a mobility wheelchair out of instinct.

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