By Simon Temple, Lincolnshire Community Health Services’ Head of Clinical Services for South East Lincolnshire
Incontinence can be an embarrassing problem and is not a subject we tend to talk about with our friends!
Incontinence is the inability to control your bladder or bowel. It is not just a problem in the elderly; it can affect young women after childbirth, men with prostate problems and people who suffer with MS or who have had a stroke.
Incontinence can make the individual feel isolated, they often do not want to go out as they have to plan where the nearest toilets are or are worried they may have an ‘accident’ when they are out.
Stress incontinence can be a problem, especially following childbirth or in overweight people. The pelvic floor muscles become weaker, causing urine to leak. This often occurs when coughing, sneezing or exercising.
Some people feel like they spend all day on the toilet, they go too often and it feels very urgent. This can be a sign of an overactive bladder.
As men get older prostate problems can occur. The prostate can become enlarged and men can experience dribbling of urine, visiting the toilet too often or inability to pass urine. Men should make sure they attend well man clinics when requested and if they are experiencing any urine problems they should make an appointment with their GP to be checked.
Within Lincolnshire Community Health Services there is a team of specialist continence nurses who run clinics in various locations across Lincolnshire.
Their role is to assess patients and provide information and treatments to help resolve their incontinence. The team also works alongside other professionals and will make referrals if required to GPs or urologists. The nurses also provide training and advice on continence promotion and care to community nursing teams, residential homes and community hospitals.
The nurses can see you in clinic and during assessment will gain information from you to assist with a diagnosis to provide the relevant plan.
Some people develop bad habits through their life; they go to the toilet ‘just in case’ before they go out. This is bad for the bladder as it trains it to not hold enough urine, making the person want to go to the toilet more often than required. Our nurses can help with advice on bladder training or even prescribe medication where necessary.
Incontinence is an embarrassing problem, however, there are ways to ease symptoms and make the problem less unpleasant.
Do not suffer alone, we are here to help.
Please contact Johnson Community Hospital on 01775 652000 to request a clinic appointment or to request a nurse to contact you.