It is impossible to
say with any real accuracy the exact numbers of Canadians who suffer from incontinence
. There is a stigma and a lack of knowledge surrounding the
condition that keeps sufferers ashamed of their condition or unaware that there
are treatments available to regain control.
damaging to the individual self-esteem and confidence. The condition puts strain on the individual,
as they find it difficult to maintain an active life or close relations with
their loved ones.
It is a problem for young and old. Many women first
encounter the issue after childbirth, as some lose control over their pelvic
floor. The condition can be very shaming, leading to feelings of isolation and
depression; mental health issues that can reduce the person’s overall
well-being. Between lost work hours and cost of care, a recent estimate from
the Canadian Continence Foundation put the overall cost of incontinence to
Canadians at around 8.5 billion.
There are a range of treatments, ranging from the invasive
to the less invasive. For low-level cases of incontinence; behavioural therapy,
a change in diet or pelvic floor strengthening exercises will be enough to
return the patient to a comfortable level. Extreme cases of incontinence can
result in permanent catheter care, or surgery.
The areas most often affected are the urethral walls and
bladder neck. Additional treatment can include electric stimulation and bio
feedback have both proved effective in providing extra support to the bladder,
and urinary tract and preventing leakage. Great results have come from using
collagen injections to narrow the urinary tract as well as from the use of botox injections.
Drugs or surgery may be prescribed to lend supplemental support.
Anticholinergic drugs and muscle relaxants are used to prevent involuntary
muscular spasms that would release urine, while "slings” can be surgically
inserted to support the bladder neck, or in a male-only treatment, an
artificial urinary sphincter known as an "AUS” has proved successful.
In some cases; intermittent catheter use can prove to be a
preferable alternative to permanent "indwelling” catheter use. It takes
practice and is not possible for all cases, but it has a lower incidence of
infections than the indwelling type.
Many people choose to
isolate themselves due to embarrassment, and decreased self-esteem. However,
there is an array of supports, and solutions available. There are a lot of home
options available in GTA that would allow you access to specialists who
are able to help you get comfortably back into a lifestyle in the comfort of
your own home.