Over half of seniors plagued by incontinence - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Over half of seniors plagued by incontinence

Updated: Jun 25, 2014 02:44 PM
© iStockphoto / Thinkstock © iStockphoto / Thinkstock
By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay News) -- More than 50 percent of older Americans struggle with incontinence, a new government report released Wednesday shows.

"We found that half the population experienced urinary leakage or accidental bowel leakage, and about 25 percent had moderate, severe or very severe urinary leakage. And about 8 percent had moderate, severe or very severe bowel leakage," said lead researcher Yelena Gorina, a statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

One expert noted that the impact of incontinence is significant.

"Bladder and bowel incontinence is a highly prevalent disease that has emotional, health, social and economic impacts in the daily life of our elderly population in the U.S.," said Dr. Farzeen Firoozi, a urologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y.

Incontinence occurs when muscles are too weak or too active. If the muscles are weak, patients may have accidents. If muscles become too active, there may be a strong urge to go to the bathroom. There are other causes of incontinence, such as prostate problems and nerve damage.

Treatment depends on the type of problem and may include simple exercises, medicines, special devices or procedures or surgery.

Dr. Tomas Griebling, a professor of urology at the University of Kansas and a spokesman for the American Urology Association, said incontinence increases with age.

However, "incontinence should really not be considered either a normal or inevitable part of aging," he added.

Griebling noted that although the percentage of adults with incontinence has remained the same, as the population ages there will be more people with the problem.

According to the report, nearly 51 percent of people aged 65 and older living at home reported bladder and/or bowel incontinence. Bladder incontinence was reported by just under 44 percent and bowel incontinence by just over 17 percent.

About 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men said they suffered from bladder incontinence. White women were almost twice as likely to have bladder incontinence compared with black women, the researchers noted.

For people getting home health care, there was no significant difference in rates of incontinence by age, race and education. No matter where a patient lived, 45 percent of those getting home health care reported having difficulty with bladder and/or bowel control.

Women getting home health care were 1.7 times more likely to have bladder incontinence compared with men, the investigators found.

The CDC notes that there is a significant cost linked with incontinence. For example, in 2000 bladder incontinence cost adults an estimated $19.5 billion, and in 2010, the average cost for bowel incontinence was estimated at $4,100 per person.

The National Center for Health Statistics report was published in the June edition of the CDC's Vital and Health Statistics.

More information

Visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine for more on incontinence.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Health WatchMore>>

  • 2 more cases of West Nile found in Oklahoma

    2 more cases of West Nile found in Oklahoma

    OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Department of Health says two more cases of West Nile have been reported in Oklahoma, bringing the total to four so far this summer.
    OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Department of Health says two more cases of West Nile have been reported in Oklahoma, bringing the total to four so far this summer.
  • Shades of Pigpen: We travel with our own germs

    Shades of Pigpen: We travel with our own germs

    Thursday, August 28 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:31:32 GMT
    Sorry, clean freaks. No matter how well you scrub your home, it's covered in bacteria from your own body. And if you pack up and move, new research shows, you'll rapidly transfer your unique microbial...
    Sorry, clean freaks. No matter how well you scrub your home, it's covered in bacteria from your own body. And if you pack up and move, new research shows, you'll rapidly transfer your unique microbial fingerprint...
  • Increase in concussion testing among young athletes

    Increase in concussion testing among young athletes

    Increase in concussion testing among young athletes

    Frisco, TX - As the new high school football season kicks off, doctors and coaches are developing new ways to protect the younger athletes. 
    Frisco, TX - As the new high school football season kicks off, doctors and coaches are developing new ways to protect the younger athletes. 
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.