Incontinence / Dementia & Incontinence Treatment |
by Sandra Ray, Staff Writer
Functional Incontinence - in this type of
incontinence loss of bladder control is caused by
other conditions. For example, the person who is
arthritic and does not move well may develop
incontinence due to their inability to get to the
bathroom in time. As dementia develops over time,
this type of incontinence may be more prevalent and
possibly more frustrating to treat since the cause
is a symptom of the underlying disease and not
easily attributed to an infection or other issue.
This type of incontinence causes a great deal of
distress for many persons with dementia and their
caregivers. Bowel incontinence can be partial when
only a small amount of liquid waste leaks before
toileting. Complete incontinence results when the
person is unable to control any aspect of the bowel
In order to understand why someone has developed
incontinence, a medical exam is definitely in order.
Since there may be special complications due to
dementia, it is best to start with the patient’s
primary physician since he or she is most familiar
with the patient and their health history. He may
order a visit to a urologist, a specialist in
urinary conditions for men and women. It is
important to remember, however, that a urologist is
a surgeon and may not focus on non-surgical
solutions, like the ones that will be discussed
When visiting the doctor, bring a description of
how incontinence is affecting the patient’s life,
including an overview of their daily routine. Some
doctors recommend keeping a continence diary to
provide a four or five day “snapshot” of what is
happening at home. Be prepared to answer questions
like the ones suggested by the National Association
for Continence. The questions below are only a few
from their suggestions.
- How much water does the patient drink
- What foods is the patient eating?
- Does the patient have any control over
- Is the problem better or worse during the
daytime or at night?
- Is it linked to a physical condition
(inability to move quickly, for example)?
- When did the incontinence first appear?
- Is the patient upset by their incontinence?
- How many episodes does the patient have and
in what time period?
- Does the patient understand the signal or
urge to urinate or are they unaware of the need?
- Is there a burning or painful sensation when
the patient needs to urinate?