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Sunday, July 17, 2011

medication related incontinence

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There are many illnesses and conditions which can cause a person to suffer from incontinence, varying from severe to mild cases. However, there is also medication related incontinence where certain medications can cause difficulties as well. Some of these medications act in a way that affects how the body produces and eliminates urine, in turn causing many people to suffer from issues with incontinence.

There are common drug classes which are associated with incontinence including, but not limited to, diuretics, certain hypertension drugs, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. There are others as well which can cause some people to suffer from incontinence, which will be discussed below.

Diuretics Perhaps the most common drug that causes issues for most people are diuretics, such as Lasix. These drugs are commonly referred to as water pills because they actually work to elevate the rate of urination (diuresis). Since they are working to increase the excretion of water from the body, they often can cause incontinence, especially in older people who have weaker muscles and others who already have impaired continence.

Sedatives (sleeping pills), Hypnotic CNS Depressants, and Benzodiazepines (especially ones such as flurazepam and diazepam (Valium)) – These drugs can build up in the bloodstream of older people leading to confusion altering their ability to recognize when they need to void, leading to urinary tract infections and incontinence.

Anticholinergic agents: Antihistamines, Antidepressants (TCA), Phenothiazines,
Disopyramides, Opiates, Antispasmodics, Parkinson drugs, Alpha-adrenergic agents People suffering from insomnia, pruritus (itchy skin), vertigo (dizziness) as well as other conditions, often take prescription or over-the-counter drugs with anticholinergic properties. One of the common side effects is urinary retention with increased urinary frequency and overflow incontinence.

Calcium channel blockers (Heart and blood pressure medications) These drugs can cause the smooth muscle contractility in the bladder to weaken sometimes leading to urinary retention and overflow incontinence.

Alpha-adrenergic agents (high blood pressure drugs) and Sympathomimetics (decongestants), Sympatholytics (e.g., prazosin, terazosin, and doxazosin) Alpha-agonists can cause symptoms of urinary retention in older men, while women prescribed alpha-antagonists for hypertension can suffer from symptoms of stress incontinence. Urinary retention and overflow incontinence may occur in older men with an enlarged prostate when they take multi-component cold capsules containing alpha-agonists and antichoinergic agents. This is especially a concern if a nasal decongestant and over-the-counter hypnotic antihistamine are taken as well.

Alcohol Although not a medication, it is important to recognize alcohol as a potential cause of urinary incontinence as well. Alcohol can alter memory, impair mobility, leading to increased urine output that can lead to incontinence. Not only that, it also acts as a sedative which can alter a persons ability to recognize when they have a need to void.

Many medications will have side effects which can lead indirectly to leakage or incontinence issues, so it is important to research any medication you are taking if you have concerns. Medication related incontinence is something that is not permanent, and can be dealt with either by changing medications or simply being aware of the potential for problems, and learning how to adapt your lifestyle to accommodate any incontinence concerns.

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