Incontinence In Diabetic Adults
For people who have been diagnosed with diabetes for more than 8 years, add a urologist or urogynecologist to your medical team. Bladder dysfunction resulting from nerve damage (autonomic neuropathy) effects 40% to 80% of the diabetic population. You may not even know your bladder is not operating properly.
Get to Know Your Unrinary System. The better you understand it the easier it will be for you to protect your urinary system. If you do not control your glucose levels, the sugar may damage your urinary system which includes:
The 2 kidneys – cleans the blood, controls the pH (acidity/alkalinity), controls the amount of sodium, potassium and calcium in the blood (electrolytes)
- The 2 ureters – tubes that carry urine down to the bladder.
- The bladder – a muscular container that stores and pumps out urine.
- The urethra – a tube that allows urine to leave the body.
The chance of damaging the urinary system increases with the of years of poorly controlled blood sugar. The kidneys are damaged when:
1. glucose attacks the blood vessels that feed the kidneys thereby reducing the blood flow to the kidneys.
2. the overly filled bladder is not emptied often enough resulting in bacterial growth in bladder. Then the bacteria moves up through the ureters from the bladder to the kidneys.
The enlarged bladder can be asymptomatic (AY-simp-toe-mat-ick). That is – as you lose the ability to sense a full bladder, the bladder is emptied less often. As you know, many diabetics drink a lot of liquids to ease their great thirst. The liquids and blood pass through the kidneys for filtration then deposit into the bladder as urine. The bladder stretches to hold more urine.
When the bladder fills but doesn’t expand, you will begin to accidentally leak urine in your clothes due to: Stress incontinence — your bladder leaks urine when you sneeze, cough, or strain. Urge incontinence is frequently feeling you need to urinate – but only a small amount of urine is released each time. At this stage adsorbent pads or adult diapers will have to be worn at all times.
The worse case is when your bladder becomes paralyzed. Either the nerve damage is so severe the brain’s message to contract does not reach the bladder or the muscle of the bladder can no longer contract. At this stage, the bladder will have to be drained by a catheter (a device that enters the bladder through the urethra.
Aggressively control your blood glucose and speak with your doctor about urinary tract issues.
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