This page provides you with a brief introduction to incontinence and the related issues that are experienced by healthcare professionals that work with continence management.
Here you can explore some of the major issues surrounding incontinence. If you are looking for specific information, please feel free to contact us, and we will try to help.
The anatomy of incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a problem of the urinary system, which consists of two kidneys each connected to the bladder via a tube called a ureter. A single tube, the urethra, connects the bladder to the outside of the body.
Kidneys remove waste products from the blood and produce urine. The ureters move urine from the kidneys to store it in the bladder until it flows out of the body through the urethra. A circular muscle called the sphincter controls the activity of the urethra.
In normal circumstances, the bladder stores urine until it is convenient to urinate, but incontinence can result when part of the urinary system malfunctions.
What is incontinence?
Incontinence means the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control and is a symptom, not a condition in itself. There are a wide variety of conditions and disorders that can bring about incontinence, including birth defects, the effects of surgery, nerve damage, infection, and changes associated with aging. It can also occur as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.
Incontinence exists among children, men and women of all ages. At some stage during their lives, 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 8 men will be affected.
The scale of the condition varies too – in the case of urinary incontinence, from small and infrequent dribbles, to the occasional loss of bladder control or a total inability to hold urine.
Read more here about the different types, causes and treatments of incontinence.