Urinary incontinence is a common occurrence in older persons and affects approximately 33% of women aged 65 and older, and 15 to 20% of men aged 65 and older. While the risk of having episodes of incontinence increases with age, it is by no means an inevitable outcome of ageing.
Incontinence has been shown to adversely affect the physical health, psycho-social outlook and quality of life of its sufferers, and can result in skin problems, falls, depression and social isolation. It can also be an economic burden to sufferers of incontinence and their care-givers.
Patients with incontinence are often embarrassed about their symptoms and fail to mention their problems to their care-givers and doctors. In actual fact, many of the causes of incontinence are amenable to treatment and can potentially be cured. These may include urinary tract infections, atrophic vaginitis (in women), constipation, medication side effects, chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, impaired physical function or sub-optimal physical environment.
Even when the causes of incontinence cannot be totally cured, many modalities of treatment are available that can help to ease the distress and stress associated with incontinence.
In older persons, many factors can interact to cause the problem of incontinence. If you (or your relatives) have experienced an unintended loss of urine or have had problems with your bladder, you may wish to consider seeking medical attention for your condition.