Over half of seniors plagued by incontinence, CDC says

by Steven Reinberg, Healthday Reporter
Over half of seniors plagued by incontinence: CDC
Older men and women prone to urinary and bladder problems, report finds.

(HealthDay)—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, , 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 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 , 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 care reported having difficulty with bladder and/or bowel control.

Women getting home 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 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.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Clinical review published in JAMA

Jun 06, 2014

Many women experience bothersome urine loss with laughing, coughing and sneezing (stress urinary incontinence) AND on their way to the bathroom (urge urinary incontinence). When women experience both types of urine leakage, ...

Recommended for you

At one month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases

1 hour ago

The U.S. program that requires weeks of monitoring for travelers from African countries with Ebola reaches the one-month mark Thursday. And so far, no cases of the disease have turned up.

EU calls for 5,000 doctors to fight Ebola

2 hours ago

The European Commission called for 5,000 doctors to be sent from EU states to combat west Africa's Ebola epidemic, a European source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Guinea, hit by Ebola, reports only one cholera case

2 hours ago

The health workers rode on canoes and rickety boats to deliver cholera vaccines to remote islands in Guinea. Months later, the country has recorded only one confirmed cholera case this year, down from thousands.

Sierra Leone official: Ebola worst could be over

2 hours ago

The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, which has been surging in recent days, may have reached its peak and be on the verge of slowing down, Sierra Leone's information minister said Wednesday.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.