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Urinary incontinence in the elderly

Author: 
Niketh Desouza
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It is present in 35% of people over the age of 65 with half of the patients who are homebound or institutionalized being incontinent (Hannestad et al., 2000). It is twice more likely to occur in women over the age of 60 than in men due to the weakening of pelvic floor muscles during labour. Even the Ebers Papyrus (an ancient Egyptian medical text from 1500 B.C.) has mentioned using pads for the treatment and management of urinary incontinence (Becker, Horst-Dieter, 2005). The cause of incontinence can be reversible or transient. Urinary incontinence can have various economic, psychosocial and medical implications. It can lead to significant morbidity, decrease in activities and depression. The four main types of incontinence seen in the geriatric population are stress incontinence, urge incontinence, over flow incontinence and functional incontinence. If a patient presents with a combination of symptoms of stress and urge incontinence it can be termed as mixed incontinence. It is important to be able to distinguish between the several types of incontinence so that appropriate treatment can be given to reduce or eliminate to leakage.

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