Chronic heart failure or cardiomyopathy is a long-term condition of the heart muscle. More than half of all people with heart failure, both men and women, have problems with urinary incontinence.
Why does Heart Failure cause Incontinence?
Your body has an outstanding ability to make up for heart failure. However, eventually fluid can start to build up in your body. This means you may fill up quickly and excessively. As a treatment option, your Doctor may prescribe diuretic medicines and other medications to help your body get rid of this excessive fluid. Treatment for heart failure can include fluid and salt restriction, and a range of important medicines, which include diuretics, commonly known as fluid or water tablets.
Often these medications can stimulate your Kidneys even more and will probably make you urinate more often. They may produce urgency and frequent night-time urination.
Some of the symptoms and treatments of heart failure may contribute to bladder and bowel problems such as:
> Frequently passing urine throughout the day
> Feeling a sudden, strong desire to pass urine
> Leaking urine while rushing to the toilet
> Waking several times overnight to pass urine
> Experiencing small, hard and infrequent bowel motions, that often require straining or pushing to pass
Unfortunately, many of the bladder or bowel control problems experienced by people with heart failure may not be cured. It is important to maintain the treatment as prescribed by the specialist, as these treatments have been proven to be safe and effective. Despite this, assessment and treatment by a continence nurse advisor may help reduce the problems to a more manageable level and improve the quality of day to day life.
How can you manage Incontinence and Heart Failure?
If you are discovering problems with your bladder and bowel after getting treatment for heart failure, assessment and treatment by a continence health professional may help reduce your problems to a more manageable level. A continence health professional may assist you by identifying other contributing factors to your continence problems that may be changed. They can also ease the impact of night time incontinence by recommending toileting equipment such as a non‐spill urine bottle.
A continence health professional may also help to find other roots to your problem through the following methods:
> Analysing the type of fluids you drink
> Advising how to best sit on the toilet
> Suggesting you go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge to go
> Providing laxative advice
Ask your Doctor if there are any nondrug therapies you can try, such as lowering blood pressure through a device that can reduce blood pressure through the use of biofeedback or deep-breathing exercises.
Additionally, ensuring you are aware of the potential side effects of medication is important in maintaining good health. You can prepare yourself for managing problems with the bladder or bowel by asking your Doctor what kinds of problems the treatment is likely to cause.
It is also vital to stay optimistic if you have heart failure and ensure you are using the correct products.
When choosing an option, make sure you understand the different types of incontinence. Heart failure may have caused you to have one of the following types of incontinence:
Stress incontinence- Stress incontinence is a condition in which leaks occur when additional pressure is applied to the bladder. This can be through activities such as lifting heavy objects, coughing, laughing and other activities.
Overflow incontinence- People with overflow incontinence have difficulties fully emptying their bladder.
Urge incontinence- This type of incontinence is characterised by having an urge to urinate that can prevent a patient from reaching the toilet in time.
Bowel incontinence- This is the inability to control bowel movements, resulting in involuntary soiling.