How to care for a patient with Parkinson’s Disease and Urinary Incontinence

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system for which there is no known cure. It is a brain disorder that progresses slowly, however sufferers often experience a multitude of physical ‘non-motor’ symptoms including urinary incontinence (UI) and bowel disorders. For caregivers it can be a challenge to provide accurate care for patients with PD and UI. This is why we have compiled a list of simple tips on how to ensure a good care.

Whilst not all sufferers of PD will develop incontinence issues, patients with Parkinson’s may be more likely to have problems with their bladder than those of a similar age without the condition.[1]

Urge incontinence is the result of the detrusor muscle, which relaxes to allow the bladder to fill and contracts to expel urine, becoming unstable. Often the muscle will contract erratically and with only small amounts of urine in the bladder.

Physical problems, such as reduced mobility, particularly as Parkinson’s progresses, can make it hard to get to the toilet in time, resulting in urge incontinence.

What is my ideal solution?

Difficulties with the practicalities of using the toilet, such as undoing clothing and the process of sitting on the toilet, can also lead to urge incontinence if the bladder begins to contract involuntarily. A frequent need to go to the toilet during the night (nocturia), or night-time incontinence (nocturnal enuresis), can lead to sleep disruption. It is worth noting that urine production at night increases as we age.[2]

In fact, getting up often at night has recently been shown to be the most common, non-motor symptom affecting patients with Parkinson’s disease, also including the increased risks of falls. Night time urgency is something that really needs to be managed to ensure proper care.[3]

There are steps that carers can take to help to limit the effects of UI on patients with Parkinson’s. Below are some care tips that can be undertaken at home.

Diet And Lifestyle

In order to keep the bladder and bowel healthy it is vital to maintain a healthy and balanced diet including fibre. Fluids are very important to regulate the bowel and aid movement disorders. Try to avoid caffeine, fizzy drinks and alcohol as these diuretics can irritate the bladder.

Establish a routine

Creating a regular routine can help to avoid accidents. Eat and drink at regular times and establish a routine of using the toilet after every meal. Limit drinking before bedtime to avoid overnight accidents, rather ensure adequate fluid has been consumed during the day.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises can strengthen the muscles and help control the bladder and prevent urine leaking. Regular exercise of the pelvic floor muscles can be very effective in preventing urinary incontinence.

Incontinence Products

There are many incontinence products on the market that can help you and the sufferer manage issues around bladder leaks. Always choose absorbent solutions that are comfortable and which provide security with maximum absorption. Mattress protection are recommended in case there is a risk of leaks at night in the bed. These ‘at home’ tips will help you to care for a patient with PD and UI. However, if you encounter any serious issues dealing with Parkinson’s sufferers we recommend that you consult a doctor or medical professional immediately. We also highly recommend you to speak to your medical professional before changing the diet plan and/or following any exercise regime for the sufferer as suggested in this article.

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