Understanding Incontinence (Part I)
The Meaning Of Incontinence
The word incontinence is derived from the Latin word incontinens, which literally means ‘not keeping close to oneself.’ By using this word we mean involuntary loss of urine or faeces. Nowadays, medicine sees incontinence as a problem which a patient should become aware of, in order to fight it. Very often, people with incontinence don’t like to admit that they have a problem. They try to deal with ¡t themselves and sometimes don’t seek the family’s help or a doctor’s advice. And this can lead to eventual deterioration of the condition.
Incontinence can cause many problems in everyday life. Bladder weakness can lead to emotional instability, sleep disorders, social problems etc. This problem can also limit activities such as shopping. travelling, active professional life or even active leisure.
There is a common view that incontinence is a result of growing old and therefore it is quite natural for the elderly to develop this problem. Indeed, many people of an advanced age are incontinent, but many younger ones too have this same problem. The many factors that can cause continence are hormonal imbalances, childbirth, surgeries within the pelvis, nervous or muscular system injuries, mental disorder or physical disability.
Incontinence can be treated pharmacologically or surgically, but not all cases qualify to be treated that way – it depends on what the cause of the problem is
Incontinence can be treated pharmacologically or surgically, but not all cases qualify to be treated that way – it depends on what the cause of the problem is. That is why, regardless of the measures taken by the doctor, using auxiliary methods is important. For example, one should consume a balanced diet, keep proper hygiene and exercise and train the bladder to overcome this difficulty.
The urinary tract functions as a regulator of bodily fluids by filtering blood and creating urine out of the substances removed from the blood. The constant work of the kidneys helps to regulate the electrolytes and keep the acid-base balance. Within 24 hours about 170-180 litres of blood flows through the kidneys and 1.5 litres of which is excreted as urine. The produced urine is collected in the bladder which stretches while filling in. When the bladder contains 200-300ml of urine, the receptors in the bladders wall gives a signal, which induces the urge to urinate. A person whose bladder works correctly, is able to control this feeling and postpone the moment of having to empty the bladder.
Emptying the bladder starts with the relaxation of the sphincter and contraction of the detrusor muscle. This muscle pushes urine towards the outside, Urine flows outside through the urethra, the sphincters contracts the urethra and the process of collecting urine in the bladder starts over. Malfunction of any of the urinary tract elements can cause involuntary loss of urine. The most common problem is the weakness of the sphincters, kidney disorder or malfunction of the nerve receptors inside the bladder.