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Bowel and Bladder Incontinence FAQs

Bowel and Bladder Incontinence FAQs


Are you living with a form of incontinence? You’re not alone. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, approximately 13 million Americans have some form of incontinence. Take a look below at more common incontinence FAQs and answers.

What is incontinence?

Incontinence is the accidental or involuntary loss of urine or feces (stool). More specifically, urinary incontinence applies to bladder leakage. Fecal incontinence refers to a lack of control over the bowels.

What are the types of urinary incontinence?

A few different types of urinary incontinence exist, including:

  • Stress incontinence: urine loss during physical activity, coughing, sneezing, or laughing
  • Urge incontinence: urine loss with increased urgency to void your bladder
  • Mixed incontinence: a combination of urine loss from both stress and urge incontinence
  • Overflow incontinence: a consistent and nearly constant voiding of urine without control

What are the types of fecal incontinence?

In the case of fecal incontinence, sometimes known as bowel leakage, you may have:

  • Passive fecal incontinence: leakage of liquid or solid stool with your awareness
  • Urge incontinence: feeling a strong sensation that you need to go to the bathroom but are unable to stop it from coming out before reaching a toilet

What causes incontinence?

elderly couple with grandchildren
Incontinence doesn’t have to be a part of getting older. It can affect anyone at any age.

A host of issues may directly cause or play a part in causing fecal incontinence and/or urinary incontinence. While sometimes it’s related to nerve damage, other times it may be due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. Injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, may affect control over both your bladder and bowels.

Other potential causes may include:

  • Childbirth or pregnancy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Side effects from radiation or other cancer treatments
  • Neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis

How do I know if I have incontinence?

If you’re not sure, it’s best to talk to your doctor first. However, we do have a few questions you can ask yourself to decide if incontinence may be affecting you.

Do you ever:

  • Accidentally soil your underwear or pants with urine or feces without being able to hold it back and control when it’s time to go?
  • Experience leakage of feces or bed-wetting at night (nocturia)?
  • Leak when you exercise, cough, sneeze, or laugh?
  • Stay nervous or experience social anxiety because you’re afraid of having another accident?
  • Stay home and avoid social activities so you can be near your own bathroom in case of an urgent need to use the bathroom or fear of losing control of your bowels or bladder?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you may have urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence.

Next, we suggest talking to your doctor because they’re the best source for diagnosing and treating this situation.

How is incontinence diagnosed?

two people talking with a laptop between
Talk to your doctor to get properly diagnosed.

First, speak with your doctor about your incontinence symptoms along with any other symptoms you may be experiencing. This will help them determine if your incontinence is related to another medical condition.

Your doctor may perform a few diagnostic tests. This may include non-invasive tests like x-rays (cystograms) or ultrasounds of your bladder or bowels. They may also perform other exams and tests.

Whatever tests the doctor orders, you have no need to be afraid. This is all part of the journey in getting you well and restoring your health.

How is incontinence treated?

Your doctor may recommend dietary changes, prescription medication, or bowel and bladder retraining programs. They may want you to keep a diary to record your bathroom habits for a period of time. You can download a diary for your bladder, bowel, bedwetting, and nocturia symptom tracking at our Resources page.

Your treatment plan will be based on your unique medical situation. In other words, your prescribing healthcare professional is the best source for determining the right treatment for you.

Because incontinence is such an individualized situation that varies in severity and type from person to person, it’s never a one-size-fits-all solution.

Your doctor may recommend using incontinence supplies to collect urine and feces and avoid leakage while they work on your treatment plan. Additionally, for urinary incontinence, your doctor may recommend intermittent urinary catheters as a way to keep your bladder emptied.

Is incontinence curable?

Certain types of urinary incontinence, such as stress incontinence, may possibly be curable or improvable with diet, pelvic floor exercises, medicine, or surgery. Even fecal incontinence can be treatable and even curable in many cases too. This depends on the underlying cause of your incontinence, which is why it’s important to see your doctor and get a professional diagnosis.

What types of incontinence products do I need?

Depending on your situation, you may require adult diapers, protective underwear, bladder control pads, booster liners, underpads to protect your bed or wheelchair, or another option.

Talk to your doctor for their recommendation on what kind of incontinence supplies you may need to use.

Next, if you’re insured through a Florida Medicaid or Georgia Medicaid waiver program, reach out to 180 Medical. Our knowledgeable Incontinence Specialists to custom-tailor an incontinence supply order that’s perfect for your needs.

incontinence product options

How much do incontinence supplies cost?

180 Medical primarily works to serve customers who have insurance through Georgia Medicaid or Florida Medicaid waiver programs. However, in terms of cost, this entirely depends on the type of insurance coverage you have.

Contact us for more details. We’ll verify your insurance coverage for the incontinence supplies you need. From there, we’ll let you know your estimated out-of-pocket cost as well as what type of products and how many will be covered by your Medicaid waiver program plan.

I’m not sure what incontinence products will be best for me. Can you help?

Yes! 180 Medical is proud to offer you caring, attentive service. Our Incontinence Specialists will gladly help you find the right selection of incontinence supplies for your individual situation.

Because each person has a different body and different levels of leakage, we feel it’s important to offer our customers a wide variety of incontinence supplies, including products from the top brands on the market today, including Attends, Personally Delivered, Depend, Tranquility, First Quality, Prevail, and much more.

incontinence brands

How will I receive my incontinence supply orders?

The great thing about choosing 180 Medical for your incontinence supply needs is that you no longer have to worry about carrying large, embarrassing packages through the store or pharmacy. We’ll ship your supplies discreetly to your door. Plus, we’ll let you know when your order is estimated to arrive.

Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

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