Bowel and Bladder Incontinence
What is Bowel and Bladder Incontinence?
Bowel and Bladder Incontinence refers to problems regarding the excretory system’s disposal of our urine and fecal matter. Bowel and bladder incontinence refers to the inability to control the voluntary passage of urine and fecal matter and is also the inability to hold it in, warranting the unwanted passage of these two bodily waste products.
At the first sign of this condition, you should always contact your healthcare service provider or your local physician. You may be embarrassed to approach anyone with this problem at first, but it is important that you should immediately consult a medical professional, as most of the time, they are already used to cases involving bowel and bladder incontinence.
What are the Most Common Causes of Bowel and Bladder Incontinence?
There are a number of factors that may be the cause of unwanted bowel and urinary movement in your body. Some of these causes may be simple ones, but others might be another underlying condition that has bowel and bladder incontinence as a symptom. Some of these causes include:
For Bladder Incontinence:
- Age – age can be the number one cause that makes it difficult for most people to hold their urine in. This is because as one age, the bladder’s capacity to store urine decreases.
- Urinary Tract Infection – otherwise known as UTI, can also be a cause of bladder incontinence. The sign that separates this cause from other causes of urinary incontinence is that the urine that is released often comes in small but very frequent doses.
- Pregnancy and Childbirth – for women, during pregnancy there is stress created by the weight of the fetus that can create bladder incontinence, and in the case of a recent childbirth, can weaken the muscles in your vagina that is needed for bladder control. There is also a temporary damage to the nerves in your bladder as well as the supportive tissue in it that leads to urinary incontinence.
- Overactive bladder: Just as the name implies, the need to empty the bladder occurs very frequently in this condition, and the need is many times urgent. The urge to urinate may occur as often as eight or more times during the day and two or more times throughout the night.
- Poor sphincter muscle control: Normally, you are able to tighten your sphincter muscles to control the flow of urine and relax them to urinate. If the nerves that send signals to these sphincters are damaged, you may not be able to control the flow of urine, resulting in urine leakage or a complete lack of bladder control.
- Urinary retention: This is a condition in which urine is held in the bladder too long. Urinary retention can lead to infection or bladder or kidney damage. The condition can be caused by damage to the nerves that help send chemical messages to your bladder indicating it is time to be emptied.
- Fecal incontinence: Damage to the nerves that control bowel function can lead to only occasional episodes of stool leakage (Fecal incontinence) or complete loss of bowel control. This condition may be caused by diarrhea, constipation, and muscle or nerve damage. The last reason may be due to aging or with giving birth.
Sometimes, urine incontinence can just be temporary and can be caused by an intake of certain drinks and foods such as:
- Alcohol and Caffeinated Beverages
- Carbonated Drinks
- Chili Peppers
- Excess doses of Vitamin C
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Too much water
For Bowel Incontinence:
- Diarrhea – diarrhea can both be a cause and a symptom of bowel incontinence and is characterized by relatively loose and uncontrollable bowel movement. This, in turn, can be caused by an infection in your stomach or simply, irritable bowel syndrome.
- Constipation – same as diarrhea, can both be a cause and a symptom in itself. Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea and is the difficulty in passing the bowel.
- Neurological Diseases – there are also certain neurological diseases that can affect your ability to pass bowel and is often commonly seen in adults such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, and Previous Spinal Cord Injury.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Some examples are Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Medications – such as antibiotics can sometimes cause loose stools or diarrhea.
How is Bowel and Bladder Incontinence Treated and Managed?
Now having known some of the causes of bladder and bowel incontinence you might wonder that treatment options are available. Luckily for you, bowel and bladder incontinence is usually treatable, and can sometimes be permanently cured.
- Medications – Medications are usually the physician’s first line of defense against this condition and is used to provide temporary relief and control. There are different medications to treat both bladder and bowel incontinence, for the former, there are prescription medications to help the bladder relax and provide you better control. As for bowel incontinence, fiber supplements as well as anti-loose bowel movement medications such as Imodium, Lomotil, and Hyoscyamine, can help prevent the condition.
- Diet – what most doctors then do is prescribe you a diet as part of the long-term treatment and management of bowel and bladder incontinence. The doctor does this by introducing a higher intake of fiber in your daily meals, to help control your stool more. Bladder Incontinence can also be remedied by avoiding alcohol and coffee, as well as regulating your dose of vitamin C. For certain people, certain types of food may trigger urinary incontinence, and all they have to do is to avoid those types of food.
- Exercising – diet goes hand in hand with exercising to provide adequate treatment and management for the condition. The exercises used in this case are called Kegel exercises, which mainly involve building strength in the sphincter muscles and pelvic floor, effectively providing proper management of bowel and bladder incontinence.
- Surgery – surgery is reserved for worst case scenarios where there is a need to repair muscles or nerves in your bladder or bowel tissues.
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