Active Life over 50 in Adults with Incontinence

Urinary incontinence can certainly present a hindrance in adults pursuing an active life over 50. In fact, urinary incontinence (UI) is a significant health problem in the U.S. which increases with age.

Statistically UI can occur at any age, but becomes much more prevalent in the elderly (particularly elderly women). According to recent statistics from the National Library of Medicine, UI affects 30% of older women and 15% of aging men. In younger women, prevalence of UI is usually pretty low, but there is a steady climb in the incidence of the condition in women, peaking at menopause. After menopause, UI increases steadily into the elderly years. Severe incontinence has a low prevalence in younger women and rises rapidly through ages 70 to 80. Urge incontinence accounts for 40 to 80 percent of men experiencing UI, and stress incontinence accounts for around 10% -usually attributed to prostate surgery or trauma. It’s interesting to note that severe incontinence occurs in only around half the cases in elderly men compared to occurrence of UI elderly women.

For those attempting to maintain an active life over 50, incontinence can cause some real challenges such as; increase in symptoms when engaging in exercise, sex, social stigma and challenges with leakage when traveling or participating in social activities or events, and more. As adults age, incontinence has even been found to cause an increase in the risk for falls or fractures. Once an older adult falls and breaks a hip or suffers other serious injuries, there is commonly a proportional decline in maintaining an active life.

One study published by The National Library of Medicine stated that of a group of 7,244 continent women 50 years and older, resulted in 268 developing UI over a 2 year follow up period. Predictors of UI in women include: increased age, obesity, history of psychiatric illness, post surgery and functional limitations. These studies indicate that maintaining an active life over 50 is a very important factor in urinary health for women.

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