Facts About Adult Incontinence

Adult incontinence is a term which is usually used to refer to urinary incontinence, which is the involuntary and unintentional discharge or leaking of urine. This condition is a common aspect of the aging process for many people, and while it is more common in women than in men, incontinence affects sizable amounts of people of both genders; some estimates state that up to a third of all women over 60 in the United States have some degree of urinary incontinence. However, this does not mean that adults under 60 cannot become incontinent, since there are a wide variety of underlying causes which can contribute to this medical condition.

The leakage of urine occurs when the pressure inside the bladder exceeds the pressure of the urethra muscles, when the urethral muscles are not released voluntarily. The urethra normally keeps urine contained in the bladder until a person voluntarily releases it through conscious action, but a variety of factors can contribute to involuntary release. This involuntarily relaxation of muscles needs not be constant, and can actually occur from muscle stress. Stress incontinence is often related to other involuntary actions such as coughing or sneezing, leading to a momentary relaxation of the urethra. This is the most common type of incontinence in men, since this type of relaxation is increased following prostate surgery. Stress incontinence can occur in women, too, especially following menopause or childbirth.

Urge incontinence is another common type of this condition, where a person will suddenly feel an urge to urinate simultaneous with a loss of urine, but without any obvious external cause. This type of discharge is due to the inappropriate and unintentional constriction of detrusor muscles, which assist in squeezing urine out of the bladder. These muscular contractions can occur due to infections, or problems with the central nervous system. Adult briefs are often used when urge incontinence is present, since everyday events like drinking a glass of water, or even hearing running water, may lead to urinary discharge.

Other common varieties of incontinence are functional and overflow incontinence. Functional incontinence is common in Alzheimer’s patients, and is defined by a person knowing they need to urinate, but poor physical mobility or other obstacles prevent them from reaching a bathroom in time. Overflow incontinence is a constant leak of urine in small amounts, due to the signals of a full bladder not reaching the brain. This type of incontinence is associated with other disorders common in adults, such as diabetes, kidney stones, multiple sclerosis, and prostate problems.

There are several means of helping to deal with adult incontinence, even when the underlying cause cannot be completely treated, such as medication, surgery, muscle exercises, and weight loss. However, one of the most common and enduring ways to ease the problem of an incontinent bladder is to use absorbent products, such as adult briefs. Briefs have the advantage of being inexpensive and widely available, and are useful with conditions that may not respond to other treatments recommended by doctors.