Living a Normal Life with Mixed Incontinence
Jessica Lubahn 6 min read
Mixed incontinence is a confusing state where the cause of your condition is not easy to diagnose. You'll want to work with your doctor so they can properly identify and diagnose you with mixed incontinence and move forward with a broad treatment approach.
If treatments have not worked, or if you want to deal with incontinence on your own, there are ways to cope. But you are encouraged to visit a doctor if you suffer from moderate to severe incontinence, as it could be an indication of a serious illness.
Managing Mixed Incontinence
To get through your day without smelling like ammonia, there are a number of products that can aid you stop the leakage. Mild mixed incontinence can be controlled with a sanitary pad or absorbent leak proof underwear.
Night time leaks can be prevented with bed padding made for this specific problem. You can also try sanitary pads and adult diapers. These products save you the trouble of washing your sheets and drying out a soiled mattress. Prevention is so much less work than professional cleaning.
It is still possible to go dancing, running and even swimming with mixed incontinence. You just need to have the right products handy. There's no need to cancel your plans. The hermit life is not that exciting.
Stress Incontinence vs Urge Incontinence
It’s time to get technical! Mixed urinary incontinence occurs when stress incontinence and urge incontinence are happening at the same time. The truth of it is, when you are diagnosed with mixed incontinence it’s because the specific cause of your incontinence is difficult to pinpoint.
It could be this or it could be that. Because diagnosis is vague, treatment is also hazy. Most likely your practitioner will try one one treatment or another until they find one that actually works for you.
Stress incontinence is usually mild, it’s a little loss of urine when you laugh, cough or sneeze or bend over. Countless people experience a little loss of control when the bladder muscles are stressed, even if they don’t have stress incontinence. It’s only when it happens too often that it becomes a problem.
For instance, if you run, jump or do other high impact exercises and experience urine leaks every time - you could have stress incontinence.
Urge incontinence is a lot more inconvenient. People who get this type of incontinence feel the urge to urinate several times in a day, more than normal. They feel the urge, but their bladder isn’t really full- so, they rush to the restroom only to release a small trickle.
Urge incontinence may be temporary when it is triggered by something you drank or ate. Alcohol, coffee and tea are notorious for triggering urge incontinence. These drinks contain diuretic substances that dehydrate the body.
There is also urge incontinence that is caused by nerve damage. Your brain wrongly signals you to pee, creating an urge without a real need. An overactive bladder can also indicate an infection or inflammation close to the bladder. Everything from stones to cancer can cause urge incontinence.
Older Women and Mixed Incontinence
Older women is the demographic most likely affected by mixed incontinence. At least one in three women get mixed incontinence. Older women may have both stress and urge incontinence, so they’re diagnosed with mixed incontinence.
But studies show that women are more likely to have stress incontinence rather than the mixed type. This is good news, since a tricky diagnosis of mixed incontinence makes it more difficult to design a treatment plan.
If you want to determine for yourself or help your doctor give you an accurate diagnosis, keep a thirty day incontinence diary. When you get an accident, ask yourself the question “I leak when I…”
This way you can track the reason you lose control, and more easily determine the kind of incontinence you’re dealing with. Relying on just imperfect memory is uneven, use a diary you can narrate a more accurate story. Women who suffer stress incontinence rather than urge incontinence are more likely to respond successfully to surgery.
There is no sure, foolproof method to determine the type of incontinence you are suffering from, but a diary greatly helps.
Intervention before surgery
Many people don’t like going under the knife, no matter the reason. If you don’t like the idea of surgery either, find a practitioner with a conservative outlook. You might want to work with a doctor who thinks just like you.
Conservative management for mixed incontinence exists. This includes lifestyle changes, weight loss, pelvic floor muscle exercise and behavior therapy. With the treatment option, you should be able to see improvements within three months.
Some behavior therapy courses run as short as six weeks. You’ll be able see improvement as fast as a month and a half!
Weight loss for those who are overweight or obese greatly improves incontinence, no matter what kind of incontinent problem you suffer from.
Be kind to yourself
Incontinence can cause a great deal of social and emotional stress. So, give yourself a break and be kind for yourself. Before it gets better, you can rely on aids to make your everyday life bearable. There are products like sanitary pads and leak proof underwear that will protect you from staining your pants.
At night, you can try bed pads, either reusable or disposable bed pads will do the job. If you’re more tolerant, use adult diapers. There are thinner adult diapers that do not look the same as those made for babies. You may also look for washable and reusable incontinent underwear. Did you know ONDRwear holds up to 1/4 cup of pee? You can discreetly wear them under your clothes.
Bed pads and adult diapers are preferable to constantly washing bed sheets and having your mattress cleaned. You’ll save time, money and work, with simple preventive measures.
Remember that it’s just pee. It’s a small problem with an easy solution. With a little attention you can one day completely manage urinary incontinence.
Mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that your incontinence will have no cure or perfect treatment. For those later in life, it could be a condition you’ll have to cope with and manage for the rest of your life. Incontinence is a normal part of aging, and no amount of medication and surgery can fix it. So you can also strive for functional incontinence.