Bladder Disorders Treatment Elderly Urinary Incontinence

Contrary to popular opinion, bladder control problems are not an inevitable part of aging. Urinary incontinence can affect people of all ages. Having said that, many elderly people eventually receive a urinary incontinence diagnosis from their doctors. The typical conditions that contribute to bladder control disorders tend to be exacerbated with age.

Living with a Urinary Incontinence Diagnosis

Many patients suffering from urinary incontinence don’t want other people to know about their condition, and often reduce their activity levels rather than risk a bladder accident in public. This restricts their ability to live life to the fullest, and in extreme cases even leaves incontinence sufferers housebound.

This need not happen. A number of strategies and products can help you lead an ordinary life in spite of incontinence. Protective undergarments can prevent noticeable accidents, and are increasingly comfortable and discreet. Using a bladder-voiding schedule, where you urinate at set times, can also help prevent urine spillage.

When you’re out, take the time to know where the nearest restrooms are. In restaurants, sit close to the restrooms, and make sure you have a clear path to the restroom in case of an emergency (so you don’t have to waste time negotiating tables and other obstacles).

Advice for Caregivers

If you are a caregiver for an elderly person, urinary incontinence is an enormous challenge, especially if the person is either bedridden or confused. Bedridden incontinence sufferers should have plastic sheeting or a bed mat attached to the mattress.

Protective undergarments will also help keep the patient comfortable, and cleanup to a minimum. Remember that urine irritates skin: check the bedridden person regularly for skin rashes. Frequent undergarment changes help combat this problem.

If the person you’re caring for is confused easily, make access to the bathroom as simple as possible. Keep a light on in the bathroom at night, so he or she can find the bathroom quickly. You might also consider using a bladder-voiding schedule to relieve the worry of identifying the need to urinate.

Three Common Urinary Incontinence Diagnoses

Urinary Stress Disorder Urinary stress incontinence is most often diagnosed in women, although men with prostate problems may also develop the disorder. Urine leaks through the bladder valve, either because the valve is damaged, or because the muscles that hold the valve shut have weakened.
Over Active Bladder (OAB) Over active bladder (OAB) is more common in men, and usually caused by a blockage in the urinary tract: either an enlarged prostate or bladder stones. The bladder contracts involuntarily, causing sudden incontinence.
Neurogenic Problems Neurogenic problems occur when the nerves around the bladder are damaged or lose sensitivity. The nerves’ ability to transmit the need to urinate to the brain is compromised, leading to urine spillage.


Griffith, R.W. (reviewed 2002).Urinary incontinence in the elderly. Retrieved April 19, 2004, from

Schneider, A. (2001). Incontinence in the elderly: What a caregiver should know. Retrieved February 19, 2002, from