Geriatric Incotinence in the Elderly

Urinary incontinence is loss of bladder control. Symptoms can range from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting. While it may happen to anyone, urinary incontinence is more common in older people. Women are more likely than men to have incontinence.

Incontinence is often seen as part of aging. But it can occur for many other reasons including:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal infection or irritation
  • Constipation
  • Some medicines can cause bladder control problems
  • Prostate problems
  • Nerve damage

When incontinence lasts longer, it may be due to:

  • Weak bladder muscles
  • Overactive bladder muscles
  • Damage to nerves that control the bladder from diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease
  • Diseases such as arthritis that may make it difficult to get to the bathroom in time
  • Blockage from an enlarged prostate in men

Treatment depends on the type of problem you have and what best fits your lifestyle. It may include:

  • Simple exercises
  • Medicines
  • Special devices or procedures prescribed by your doctor
  • Surgery

Types of Incontinence

  • Stress incontinence happens when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder, for example, during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects.
  • Urge incontinence happens when people have a sudden need to urinate and aren't able to hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet in time.
  • Overflow incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full.
  • Functional incontinence happens in many older people who have normal bladder control, but have a problem getting to the toilet because of arthritis or other disorders that make it hard to move quickly.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence, tell your doctor. Remember, under a doctor's care, incontinence can be treated and often cured. Even if treatment is not fully successful, careful management can help you feel more relaxed and confident.

For information about the geriatric services provided at Des Peres Hospital, or to find a physician, 
please fill out our form or call (877) 693-8165.