Over half of seniors are affected by incontinence

accreditation

More than 50 percent of older Americans struggle with incontinence, a government report released by the U.S government states.

"We found that half the population experienced urinary leakage or accidental bowel leakage, and about 25 percent had moderate, severe or very severe urinary leakage. And about 8 percent had moderate, severe or very severe bowel leakage," said lead researcher Yelena Gorina, a statistician at the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's National Centre for Health Statistics.

One expert noted that the impact of incontinence is significant.

"Bladder and bowel incontinence is a highly prevalent disease that has emotional, health, social and economic impacts in the daily life of our elderly population in the U.S.," said Dr. Farzeen Firoozi, a urologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y.

Incontinence occurs when muscles are too weak or too active. If the muscles are weak, patients may have accidents. If muscles become too active, there may be a strong urge to go to the bathroom. There are other causes of incontinence, such as prostate problems and nerve damage.

Read: What is incontinence?

Treatment depends on the type of problem and may include simple exercises, medicines, special devices or procedures or surgery.

Dr. Tomas Griebling, a professor of urology at the University of Kansas and a spokesman for the American Urology Association, said incontinence increases with age.

However, "incontinence should really not be considered either a normal or inevitable part of aging," he added.

Griebling noted that although the percentage of adults with incontinence has remained the same, as the population ages there will be more people with the problem.

According to the report, nearly 51 percent of people aged 65 and older living at home reported bladder and/or bowel incontinence. Bladder incontinence was reported by just under 44 percent and bowel incontinence by just over 17 percent.

Read: Faecal incontinence affects 1 in 5 women

Women twice as likely to suffer from bladder incontinence

About 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men said they suffered from bladder incontinence. White women were almost twice as likely to have bladder incontinence compared with black women, the researchers noted.

For people getting home health care, there was no significant difference in rates of incontinence by age, race and education. No matter where a patient lived, 45 percent of those getting home health care reported having difficulty with bladder and/or bowel control.

Women getting home health care were 1.7 times more likely to have bladder incontinence compared with men, the investigators found.

The CDC notes that there is a significant cost linked with incontinence. For example, in 2010, the average cost for bowel incontinence was estimated at $4,100 (An estimated R55 755) per person.

Read more:

Caffeine linked to leaky bladder in men

Is your pregnancy causing bladder incontinence?

Urinary incontinence in menopause

Image: Older woman from Shutterstock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
32% - 3548 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
15% - 1595 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
53% - 5848 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.99
+1.0%
Rand - Pound
20.30
+1.1%
Rand - Euro
17.55
+1.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.36
+0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.9%
Gold
1,749.10
+0.4%
Silver
21.25
+1.5%
Palladium
1,840.16
-0.5%
Platinum
1,007.00
+1.4%
Brent Crude
83.19
-0.5%
Top 40
66,816
-0.3%
All Share
73,128
-0.3%
Resource 10
71,369
+0.8%
Industrial 25
88,068
-0.4%
Financial 15
16,117
-1.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE