Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control, causing you to urinate when you do not intend to. You may experience symptoms such as urinary urgency that does not give you time to get to a bathroom or dribbling urine throughout the day. We understand that incontinence can be challenging to take care of and are here as a resource to help you live your desired lifestyle!
Urinary Incontinence Complications
While many may think of urinary incontinence as a potential inconvenience, most people do not realize the many different complications that it can cause. If urinary incontinence is not treated correctly, it can lead to lasting effects that can disrupt your normal life activities and cause you to develop additional health problems.
Urinary Tract Infections
One common complication that can occur in those with urinary incontinence is urinary tract infections (UTIs). Incontinence is one of the common UTI causes because urine accumulates against the tube leading from the bladder to the outside, causing infection to develop and to travel back into the bladder. UTIs can also be caused when you use poor-quality medical equipment or medical equipment, such as catheters, that have not been cleaned correctly.
UTIs can make your incontinence worse and can lead to other symptoms, such as confusion, feeling fatigued, and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria causing a UTI can get into your bloodstream, making you very ill and potentially leading to a life-threatening condition called sepsis.
If incontinence is not treated correctly, you will have excessive moisture in your groin area from the urinary incontinence. This moisture against the skin causes the skin to become softer and more fragile. Chemicals in the urine are also irritating to your skin and can cause your skin to break down.
The skin damage that comes from having urine against your skin for prolonged periods can lead to sores and ulcers. These sores and ulcers may become infected, as there is a high amount of bacteria in the groin area. Infected areas of damaged skin will not heal well, and you may develop chronic sores that do not heal on their own.
Having bladder problems can have a significant effect on your social life. Many people who struggle with incontinence find that they have some level of fear that they will be incontinent in public. This fear of potential embarrassment can make it difficult to be in public settings and may make you apprehensive about social situations that you would have previously enjoyed and welcomed.
Decreased socialization can have a negative effect on your mental health and well-being. It may make you more likely to develop depression and have difficulties in your relationships with others.
Urinary incontinence can affect you at any time, and many people find that they are incontinent during the night. Frequent urination at night can wake you up, causing disruption to your sleep. The disrupted sleep that occurs from urinary incontinence can be harmful to your health over a long-term basis and may lead to an increased risk of heart problems, diabetes, and mood disorders.
The inability to control when you urinate can be very disruptive to your sexual health. Having an episode of incontinence during intercourse can be embarrassing and may affect your ability to experience intimacy. Even if you do not experience an episode of incontinence, the fear of leaking urine can make it more difficult and distracting when trying to experience intimacy.
Avoiding Complications of Incontinence
While the complications of incontinence can be very disruptive, and in some situations may even be dangerous, they are very avoidable. If you have incontinence, you can still live a normal and complication-free life. Avoiding the complications of incontinence involves following the instructions of your doctor and being sure that you have the correct medical equipment to manage your symptoms. Some of the products used to avoid complications from incontinence include:
- Barrier Creams: Barrier creams can be used to help keep skin from breaking down when exposed to urine.
- Adult Briefs: Adult briefs help to collect urine and pull it away from staying up against your skin.
- Catheters: Catheters should only be used at the direction of a doctor, but can help by removing urine from your bladder as it is produced and collecting it away from your body.
There are many other urinary incontinence products that can help you avoid the complications that incontinence can cause. Speak with your doctor to learn more about what options may be available and best for your unique situation.