What’s the link between urinary incontinence and diabetes?
14th November was World Diabetes Day, so we are marking the event retroactively with a special blog post dedicated entirely to the subject. You may not be aware, but it can be common for diabetes to cause problems with a person’s bladder control. Keep reading to find out the three links between urinary incontinence and diabetes, as well as the types of treatments that are available. Remember – incontinence is a condition faced by millions of people and dealt with on a daily basis by thousands of physicians – we are all here to support each other!
To get started, since we are talking about World Diabetes Day, it’s useful to know what the global figures are for urinary incontinence:
As we said, that’s a lot of people. So how might diabetes be contributing to these numbers? There are three key links to know about:
1. The link between weight and urinary incontinence
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with excess body weight, and if that’s the case, it can also be a cause of incontinence. That’s because excess body weight can put strain on the pelvic floor muscles – which if you take a look at our website, you’ll know are closely related to incontinence. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to stress or urge incontinence, and loss of bladder control. For this reason, a good first treatment to try are pelvic floor exercises, which you can learn about here.
2. The link between nerve damage and urinary incontinence
If you suffer from diabetes for a long-time, this can cause damage to the nerves. Whilst this happens most often in the feet, it can also happen in the bladder. This means you may lose sensation in the area, making it more difficult to know when your bladder is full or to empty it completely. Though there are many first-line treatments that can help this type of incontinence, it is good to know that there is a more advanced treatment available if these don’t work. Sacral neuromodulation involves placing a small device into the lower back next to sacral nerve. The sacral nerve is involved in emptying the bladder, so by stimulating this with an electrical current, it is possible to restore the bladder to a healthier function.
3. The link between reduced immunity and urinary incontinence
People suffering with diabetes are more susceptible to certain infections. If they also have trouble emptying their bladder, this can create recurrent urinary tract infections. Bladder “retraining” is one first-line treatment that can be useful in this area. This mainly involves sticking to a regular bathroom “schedule”, so that you only go to the bathroom at certain times.
We hope the above has helped explain how diabetes and urinary incontinence are linked. If you want further information, try entering ‘World Diabetes Day 2020’ into your internet search engine. We guarantee you’ll find lots of useful links that are relevant to your country, wherever you are around the globe.
Stay safe, and see you next time!
Press Release: A commitment to collaboration in continence care between international scientific societies and patient organizations
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