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Dealing with Incontinence 

Incontinence is an embarrassing issue for people to discuss, let alone face that it is happening to them. Yet urinary continence is fairly common immediately after a stroke (permanent incontinence after a stroke is uncommon),

Incontinence is the inability for the person to control urinary or bowel output. There are various reasons for incontinence:
  • You may have to go to the bathroom all the time (called urge incontinence) because you have lost the ability to control bladder muscles. 
  • Your bladder becomes over full and leaks (called overflow incontinence) because you have lost the ability to sense the need to urinate.
  • You simply cannot make it to the bathroom in time because of physical reasons (called functional incontinence). 


Managing Incontinence
In most cases, incontinence is overcome in a short period after a stroke. But in the meantime, there are several things you can do to help with incontinence:
  • Change your diet: Avoid coffee, alcohol, caffeine, or acidic foods. Changing the timing, amounts, and types of liquids can help too.
  • Train your bladder to delay urination after you get the urge to go. You may start by trying to hold off for 10 minutes every time you feel an urge to urinate. The goal is to lengthen the time between trips to the toilet until you're urinating only every two to four hours.
  • Double-void -- urinating, then waiting a few minutes and trying again -- helps you learn to empty your bladder more completely. 
  • Schedule your trips to the toilet to urinate every two to four hours rather than waiting for the need to go.
  • Do Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that help control urination.
  • Wear clothing that's easy to get off.  Bring extra clothes for long shopping trips. Have a set of clothes in the car for accidents. Wear disposable undergarments.
  • Have a urinal or commode easily that is accessible.

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