Are you living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? If so, you probably already know that this neurological condition that affects the nerves often provokes any number of symptoms in the body.
People living with MS may experience fatigue, depression, and/or vision and hearing problems, among other things. In fact, one of the more common but less known symptoms of MS includes both bowel and bladder incontinence.
How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect the Body?
MS creates inflammation inside the central nervous system (CNS). This immune system-based attack can damage the myelin sheath that protects nerves, thereby damaging the nerves themselves. Unfortunately, this causes the usual messages in the body’s central nervous system (CNS) to become scrambled or even stop completely.
According to the National MS Society, the symptoms can sometimes resolve over weeks or months, but sometimes the symptoms become permanent.
The severity of each person’s symptoms varies on an individual basis. While some people will never become severely disabled from living with MS, others may eventually have to be in a wheelchair or using a walking aid.
Some symptoms of MS may include:
- Blurry or impaired vision
- Slurring of speech
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Sexual dysfunction
- Numbness or weakness
- Impairment of bladder or bowel function
Can Multiple Sclerosis Cause Incontinence?
While many people with MS may never experience urine leakage or loss of control of their bowels, others might. Neurogenic bladder and neurogenic bowels are both fairly common when damage in the nervous system affect these particular areas of the body.
The most common type of urinary incontinence that occurs with MS nerve damage is urge incontinence. In other words, someone with MS who gets urge incontinence may have problems with their bladder or their bowels holding on to their urine or stool until it’s time to go.
Some people living with MS may experience a kind of fecal incontinence that stems first from constipation. In other words, they stay constipated for a length of time until the impacted stool is pushed out. This is also called overflow incontinence.
In summation, incontinence of both kinds will sometimes happen with the nerve signals between the brain and the bladder or bowel are disrupted.
Treatment Options for Multiple Sclerosis-Related Incontinence
First, the wisest course of action is to seek your doctor’s medical advice. We suggest scheduling an appointment with your prescribing healthcare practitioner and letting them know a little more about some of the symptoms you’re experiencing.
From there, your doctor can determine the best course of action of incontinence treatment for your individual situation. Some treatment options may be as easy as diet and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain types of bladder or bowel irritants like caffeine. Another example might be to include regular pelvic floor muscles exercises to strengthen the muscles that help control and support the bladder and bowel.
Bladder and Bowel Incontinence Supplies
Your doctor may also suggest a bladder or bowel management program, which will sometimes include the use of incontinence supplies.
For instance, if you’re living with urinary incontinence, they may prescribe intermittent catheterization as part of your individualized treatment plan. Self-cathing may help retrain your bladder to fill and void at certain times of the day. In addition, it may help you avoid overflow accidents and leakage.
In other situations, or in addition to your catheters, they may suggest that you begin using incontinence products like adult diapers, underpads, and/or bladder control pads.
Worried that people will be able to tell when you’re wearing adult diapers or carrying catheters? We have good news! Plenty of discreet incontinence product options exist. Many offer superior performance, comfort, and high absorbency to reduce leakage and control odor, so no one will be able to see, smell, or know that you’re using them.
Where Do I Buy Incontinence Products?
Our Specialists are highly-trained and ready to help you during this transition. We can offer you the empathetic support you deserve while giving you the reliable service you need.
At 180 Medical, we will verify your insurance coverage to determine if and how your incontinence supplies will be covered. From there, one of our friendly specialists will go over the full details with you. We’ll also discuss any potential out-of-pocket costs after your insurance covers their portion. Then we’ll spend some time getting to know your needs and determine what products will work best for you.
180 Medical also proudly supports those living with Multiple Sclerosis by donating and participating in our local Walk MS events, benefitting the National MS Society.