Reflective accounts

Urinary continence

The CPD article on promoting urinary continence in older women emphasised that incontinence is not an inevitable part of the ageing process and can be treated and managed effectively.

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Urinary incontinence involves involuntary leakage of urine. This problem affects women of all ages, but prevalence is higher with increasing age. Nearly one third of the female population aged over 65 years experiences urinary incontinence, and prevalence is higher among older females who live in care homes. The most common types of urinary incontinence are stress, urgency and mixed incontinence, nocturnal enuresis and overactive bladder.

There are a surprising number and diversity of factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing urinary incontinence. These include genetics, age-related changes, urinary tract infections, constipation, medications, obesity, smoking, high-impact exercise, diet, menopause and pregnancy, as a result of pelvic floor damage during childbirth. It is important that nurses are aware of these risk factors, which were described in the article.

Other factors that can contribute to urinary incontinence include problems with the function of the lower urinary tract,

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