Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 08, 2022

How Technological Innovations Improve Quality Of Life For Persons With Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence (UI) is characterized by the involuntary leakage of urine by various factors. People who have it found the condition extremely embarrassing.

Luckily, technological innovations in medicine and science are constantly improving the quality of life among people, including millions of sufferers dealing with it. Some of these include diapers for women and men, pelvic floor trainers, and more. Read on to learn more about how they’ve improved the daily lives of persons with UI.

What’s UI

It’s best to discuss what UI is first. UI is the loss of bladder control. It can affect men and women, but it's believed to be more common in the latter group.

The said ailment usually happens when the muscles around the bladder, also known as the pelvic floor muscles, don't work well enough to prevent urine from leaking out. There are multiple types of UI: stress, urge, mixed, and overflow incontinence.

Stress incontinence is the most common type among females. It’s characterized by leakage when coughing, sneezing, or lifting something heavy. Meanwhile, urge incontinence is characterized by leakage from urination before getting to the bathroom or experiencing an intense feeling of needing to urinate.

Mixed incontinence occurs when stress and urge symptoms are present at different times. Lastly, overflow incontinence happens when someone's bladder can't hold any more urine yet leaks out around the blockage due to weakened muscles in their bladder wall.

Benefits of Technology To UI Patients

Technology has been a great asset to persons with UI. These have helped improve the quality of life for these individuals for the following reasons:

1. Reduced Costs

One of the most significant costs associated with UI is the use of diapers, which can be prohibitively expensive for some people due to daily use. With innovations such as pessaries, persons with UI manage their expenses better.

Pessaries are UI devices commonly used by women. They come in different forms, such as rings, cubes, and others. They can also be inserted into the vagina without pressure on the pelvic floor muscles or bladder. Since pessaries are soft latex, they can press against the vaginal and urethral walls to control urine leakage.

Because pessaries can be worn for weeks to months, it reduces the need to buy a new one daily. The relative affordability of these products means that those in need can find a product that meets their needs without resorting to more expensive alternatives.

2. Lesser Stigma

Stigmas associated with the symptoms of UI can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem. Nonetheless, technological innovations provide solutions for those with UI that can help improve their quality of life.

One type of technology available for UI is an internal sphincter implant. A doctor injects a specific material within your urethral wall. This material then bulks up and tightens the urethra, helping control your urine flow. This allows people in need to feel less conspicuous about using these products.  

3. Convenience

As people get older, the pelvic floor muscles can become weaker and lose their ability to keep the bladder closed. Other times, difficulty in controlling the urine comes from vaginal and urinary tract infections and other reasons. This is why people with UI often have a difficult time getting around.

Due to this, more focus needs to be put on interventions that'll prevent people from needing hospital care in the first place. Fortunately, many technological innovations could help provide convenience for incontinence patients.

An example of such an innovation is wireless sensor pads for UI. These pads can monitor when someone is wet and alert caregivers when necessary. Caregivers can assist before someone has another accident or becomes so weak; they need hospital care.

Another way technology can provide convenience to those with UI is through telemedicine consultations. Here doctors can discuss treatment options remotely without leaving their office using video conferencing systems.

4. Ability To Live Independently

It can be tough to live independently when you suffer from UI. The condition's unpredictable nature means that a caregiver's help may be necessary. Fortunately, technological innovations in medical science have helped people reduce dependence on others for assistance in various ways.

A type of technology for UI is a catheter tube, which assists in controlling urine flow by inserting tubing through the urethra into the bladder. The benefit of this device is patients may not require assistance when going about their daily routines like eating, sleeping, or using the bathroom.

In Conclusion

Advanced treatments available have helped to make quality-of-life improvements for those who suffer from UI. Using these technologies helped patients reclaim their lives by avoiding re-hospitalization and living independently. Others also helped curb the stigma associated with incontinence. Today, people with UI can regain an ounce of dignity.

Author: Rey Brown

Rey Brown is a nursing instructor for more than a decade now. Besides teaching aspiring nurses full-time, they contribute articles and other media that cover medical innovations and the like to online publications.


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