KOCHI: With age comes many health problems and most people will agree that urinary incontinence is one of them. It is well known that many older people suffer from urinary incontinence and sadly many think it’s a normal part of ageing. The truth is that it does not have to be. On world incontinence week which is globally observed from June 18 -24, urologists are urging those suffering from this to consult doctors. Depending on the cause of the problem, there are different ways like certain lifestyle modifications and medicines, which will help them to regain control over their bladder.
According to Dr Sanjay Bhat, HOD, Urology, Rajagiri Hospital, Kochi, “Our bladder is a vital part of our body but we rarely think about it until it starts troubling. Frequent urination, urine leakage and the constant feeling to go to the bathroom can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing.” Lack of physical exercise, sedentary lifestyle and normal age-related loss in the number of muscle fibres puts the elderly patients at a greater risk of developing incontinence, he added.
Dr Sanjay said that if someone is experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder, like an urge to pee eight or more times a day, urinary leaks, or the need to wake up to pee twice or more per night, consult a urologist. Dr Nandagopal V, Urologist, SUT Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram said, “The norm would be six to eight times a day, and being able to sleep through the night without going to the toilet.”
While both male and female suffer from the symptoms of an overactive bladder, it is observed that women tend to suffer more. “Drinking too much water, because of the misconception that it is healthy, can be detrimental for your bladder,” says the doctors.
“Working mothers are one of the strongest pillars of any workforce worldwide. Urinary incontinence mostly affects middle-aged working mothers impairing their quality of life and ability to progress at work. The focus should be on prevention and early detection and correction of incontinence” says Dr Aby Madan, Urologist, Believers Church Medical College Hospital, Thiruvalla.
The recommendation is two litres a day, or six to eight glasses a day. If you drink in excess of that, you’ll go to the toilet more often. Both women and men are advised to cut down their caffeine intake (tea, coffee, cold drinks and alcohol) as all of these are bladder stimulants.
Experts opine that adult incontinence is also a symptom of bladder cancers, urinary tract infections and spinal cord injuries. Getting diagnosed early allows the patient to detect the severe conditions before it deteriorates.