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Incontinence and Diabetes

Urge incontinence, overactive bladder, functional incontinence, overflow incontinence, and stress incontinence are 5 types of incontinence that are often associated with diabetes. Learn about natural solutions that can help.
by Austin Sheeley
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One of the most commonly overlooked side effects of type 1 and 2 diabetes is the increased risk of both urinary and fecal incontinence. There is no one reason why this happens. Instead, several of the symptoms of diabetes can lead to the five types of urinary incontinence.

5 Types of Urinary Incontinence

Urge Incontinence

Urge Incontinence is the sudden loss of large amounts of urine following a strong, unexpected urge. It can occur anytime of the day or night, including during sleep.

Often, those with urge incontinence are set off by small everyday occurrences such as drinking a small amount of water, hearing water, or even feeling stressed. Diabetes causes urge incontinence by damaging the nerves in the bladder and bowel. This nerve damage leads to decreased feeling in the bladder, giving the patient almost no warning that they need to urinate until it’s too late.

Overactive Bladder

Overactive Bladder causes frequent, urgent urination. Like Urge Incontinence it can be the result of damaged nerves in the bladder. The damaged nerves will send out the wrong signals, resulting in the bladder muscles squeezing too often and sometimes without warning. Those who suffer from an overactive bladder don’t necessarily experience leakage, like those with urge incontinence, but this is not uncommon.

Functional Incontinence

Functional Incontinence is the inability to make it to the restroom in time due to physical disability. Diabetes is known to result in disabilities such as peripheral vascular disease, diabetic neuropathy or amputation—all of which severely limit mobility.

Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder doesn’t empty fully during urination, causing the excess urine to leak. Those who have had diabetes for a long time often have weakened bladder muscles, resulting in the inability to fully void. In addition, certain diabetes related medications such as Calcium Channel Blockers are known to weaken the bladder. Overflow incontinence is more prevalent in men than women.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is the loss of small amounts of urine due to small movements—such as laughing, coughing or sneezing—which put stress on the bladder. Stress incontinence generally occurs in women after childbirth. Diabetes treatments such as ACE inhibitors are known to cause coughing, thereby increasing the frequency of stress incontinence.

Other Links Between Diabetes and Incontinence

Obesity and constipation are more common in those with diabetes. Obesity increases the stress placed on pelvic muscles, often leading to incontinence. In addition, approximately 60% of diabetics suffer from constipation. Severe constipation places pressure on the urinary tract, obstructing urine flow and keeping patients from fully emptying their bladder.

Also, when blood sugars are high your body tries to compensate by creating extra urine to flush out the sugars. If a diabetic’s blood sugar isn’t under control, their body will make excess urine increasing the risk or severity of incontinence.

Natural Remedies for Diabetes Related Incontinence

The best defense is a good offense. The best way to treat diabetes related incontinence is to treat your diabetes. Ask your doctor what you can do to control your blood sugar levels. You may want to try natural supplements to help lower blood glucose and control diabetes. When used in conjunction with regular exercise and a healthy diet, Glucose M2 (a remedy to help lower blood glucose) can help keep blood sugar levels under control and enhance your metabolism.

Keeping Incontinence Under Control

Here’s the good news: 80% of those who go to their doctor for help with urinary incontinence make major improvements. But here’s the bad news: less than 50% of incontinence sufferers seek any sort of professional medical help. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor to find the best incontinence control strategy for you. Here are some common strategies he might recommend:

Bladder Training

Bladder Training is a relatively simple technique that’s most effective for Urge Incontinence. There are two steps to this technique.

First, when you feel the urge to go try to hold off for a while. Trying to hold off for ten minutes is a good starting point for many. Then, over time, slowly lengthen the amount of time you wait to void. This practice will give you better control over delaying urination and help you lengthen the time between your bathroom trips.

Second, when you do use the restroom try double voiding. This means urinating as per normal, then doing so again after a few minutes. This helps you learn to completely empty your bladder, which is useful for Urge Incontinence as well as Overflow Incontinence.

Timed Voiding

Timed Voiding is a form of habit training in which you use the restroom at regularly scheduled intervals. Over time your body should adapt to the new routine, resulting in fewer accidents. It’s recommended that you determine the length of time between urination with the help of your doctor.

Generally, these periods will be between two and four hours. To help with timed voiding, many adults use reminder watches. These can be set to either sound, sound and vibration, or vibration only for a discreet reminder. The alarms can be set to go off at specific times or at timed intervals, depending on your schedule and needs.

Pelvic Muscle Training

Pelvic Muscle Training or Kegel Exercises are a very effective incontinence control strategy generally employed by women, but they can help men too.

These exercises have even been known to completely cure incontinence. To do the exercise, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as though you’re trying to stop the flow of urine. You should feel a “pulling-up” sensation.

Your abdominal, buttock and leg muscles shouldn’t squeeze if you’ve targeted the right muscle set. Hold the squeeze for three seconds, then release for three seconds, then repeat. If you do this for just five minutes three times a day you should see improvement in 3 to 6 weeks.

Women may also wish to try vaginal cones, which are small weights that can be inserted into the vagina just like a tampon. Squeezing to hold the weight in place and slowly working up toward heavier cones can make a dramatic difference. Pelvic muscle training is especially helpful with stress incontinence.

If you’re about to jump, lift something heavy, or sneeze simply squeeze and hold until after the activity to avoid any accidents.

About the Author

Austin Sheeley is a passionate blogger who spends his time researching and writing about health care, specifically incontinence. He is an online producer for incontinence products supplier, NationalIncontinence.com

Sources


"About Incontinence – Contributing Factors – Diabetes" http://www.simonfoundation.org/About_Incontinence_Contributing_Factors_Diabetes.html

"Urinary Incontinence" http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinary-incontinence/DS00404/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

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