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November is Incontinence Awareness Month

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Understanding Incontinence

November is incontinence month at Healthcare Solutions. We believe thatincontinence shouldn't have to change the way you feel about yourself or interfere with your ability to live life to the fullest, that's why  we provide clients with literature, free incontinence samples, and assistance.

You are not alone!

          Urinary incontinence is the partial or full loss of bladder and/or bowel control resulting in involuntary loss of urine. It can range from occasional, involuntary loss of a few drops of urine to a complete and uncontrollable emptying of the bladder.
          As many as 3.3 million Canadians--nearly 10% of the population experience some form of urinary incontinence, yet the condition is not widely understood or recognized. Almost all cases of urinaryincontinence can be treated, managed or cured. Help is available to reduce or eliminate incontinence by treating and/or managing the underlying causes in ways that fit your own personal lifestyle and preferences.
          It is important to speak with a healthcare professional and be medically assessed for the type and cause of the incontinence, as well as have a plan of care that will help maintain or restore as much bladder function and control as possible. That may include some or more of the following: surgical intervention, pelvic muscle exercises, dietary changes, toileting, medication as well as the use of absorbent products.

How do you know?

 You may have incontinence if you:
  • Lose urine when you don't want to
  • Have to go urgently, or can't make it to the toilet in time
  • Leak urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or lift something heavy
  • Rely on disposable pads, adult diapers, or anything else to absorb urine
  • Find yourself limiting your activities because you're afraid of having an "accident" 
Types of Incontinence
It is important to know what type of incontinence you have because this will help determine what type of treatment is best for you.
  •  Stress IncontinenceIntermittent, or slight leakage of urine. It is caused by weakened pelvic or sphincter muscles associated with pregancy, childbirth, surgery, or radiation therapy. Bladder leakage normally occurs in small amounts with cough, sneeze, or physical activity. There is noincontinence at night and no sensation of urine loss. 
  • Urge IncontinenceA sudden, involuntary emptying of the bladder. It is caused by uncontrolled bladder contractions. This can be caused by urinary tract infection or by brain damage typical of stroke.   Some symptoms include: strong, uncontrolled urgency prior to incontinence, a higher frequency of urination, incontinence at night more than 2 times, and moderate to large amount of urine leakages.
  • Mixed IncontinenceSymptoms of both stress and urgeincontinence.
  • Overflow IncontinenceA continual leakage of urine. This is due to the bladder failing to contract when it should or becoming overfull because it cannot release the urine due to an obstruction of the urethra. One of the reasons for this is the side effects of medication. Other causes can be constipation, or an enlarged prostate gland in men. Symptoms include: difficulty starting urine streams, weak or intermittent stream (dribbles), post-void bladder dribbling, prolonged bladder voiding, feeling of fullness after bladder voiding, and voiding small bladder amounts often.
  • Functional IncontinenceUsually associated with strong emotional states, psychiatric problems, poor mobility or physical barriers in the environment which prevent a person from reaching a toilet in time. There may be pain with movement.
  • Total Incontinence: A constant loss of urine. Due to neurological disorders causing a lack of sensation. Some causes are spinal cord injuries, birth defects, severe trauma and senility.

Causes of Temporary Incontinence

  • Alcohol, caffeine, and other diuretics
  • Drinking too much liquid
  • Urinary tract/bladder infections
  • Bladder irritants like carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and juices, and artificial sweeteners
  • Medications including sedatives, diuretics, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, heart medications, and cold medicines.
  • Constipation

Healthy Bladder Habits

  • Avoid bladder irritants (caffeinated beverages and alcohol)
  • Eat more fibre to avoid constipation
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay active and mobile
  • Don't smoke
  • Empty your bladder every three to four hours during the day and before going to sleep
  • Drink moderate amounts of fluid (six to eight glasses per day)
  • Talk to your doctor about urine loss or other bladder symptoms

How do Absorbent Products work?

 Urine passes out of the urethra--and then it is wicked away from the skin:
-->  Through the absorbent top core to keep the surface dry
--> Into the bottom core,where it is turned into a dry gel by the super-absorbent polymers
--> To prevent any leakage from coming back into contact with the skin, the surface of the product stays dry--keeping the skin healthy and dry.

Proper Sizing and How Products are Selected?

          It is important to use only one product at a time. Choosing a product that matches the person's incontinence needs as well as fits skin-snug against the body will encourage fluid to absorb evenly, and will help prevent leakage and will be more comfortable to wear.
          Double padding or adding an insert is never the way to go. When an insert is added, both products will fit poorly, feel uncomfortable and bulky, result in leakage, skin irritation, and discomfort to the person wearing the product.  
          SCA Personal Care manufacturers the TENA brand of quality disposable absorbent products. These products are available in a wide range of levels to address each individual's own needs for protection, containment, comfort, and dignity.
          Family, caregivers, and the person who will be using the product should consider the most appropriate size, style, and level of protection to meet the unique needs of each individual.
          A small TENA pad may be the best solution for a person who is experiencing light incontinence while a more absorbent TENA brief may be required for handling larger volumes of uncontrollable urine loss.

Skin Care

          Preventing skin breakdown before it begins is an important concern for anyone experiencing incontinence. The use of quality perineal careproducts helps to prevent redness, irritation and itchiness in the delicate body areas exposed to incontinence. Effectively removing urinary residue and re-moisturizing these delicate skin areas, helps to maintain comfort and skin health. Soap is not recommended because of the drying effect, and soap residue left on the skin can cause irritation and sensitization.
Tena Skin Caring Wash Cream
The Tena Skin Caring Wash Cream is a gentle no-rinse cleanser alternative to soap and water that cleanses, restores and protects even the most delicate skin. Ideal forincontinence care when frequent cleansing is required.
Tena Ultra Washclothes
The Tena Ultra Washclothes are large, soft, alcohol free, and  come in a handy softpack dispenser. These clothes are made of special fibres impregnated with a fluid designed to gently cleanse and moisturize the skin, while removing surface impurities. The washcloth ensures quick, efficient and gentle perineal care at each incontinence product change, and can also be used for gentle washing of the whole body.

A Good Night Sleep

          Quality sleep is a restorative state providing the body with a chance to refresh and repair itself, and promotes the overall well-being of both wearers and caregivers. Incontinence may lead to frequent episodes of waking for the individual. The use of poor quality aborbent products that leak and do not wick fluid away from the skin to keep it dry can contribute to awakenings, discomfort and may poorly affect the skinhealth of the wearer.