Incontinence & Diabetes: What is the Relationship?

Over 1.8 million Australians are impacted by diabetes. With a close link between diabetes and incontinence, here are our tips for daily continence management.

Incontinence & Diabetes: What is the Relationship?

Over 1.8 million Australians are impacted by diabetes. With a close link between diabetes and incontinence, here are our tips for daily continence management.

Diabetes impacts around 1.8 million Australians - a figure that includes all types of diagnosed diabetes and silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. It is a serious illness that requires self-management, the support of expert medical practitioners and a supportive family and community.

Insulin, a pancreatic hormone, regulates our blood sugar levels. Diabetes develops when your pancreas fails to generate enough insulin or your body becomes insulin resistant.

Managing your blood sugar levels and keeping diabetes well controlled is the greatest prevention of risk factors associated with incontinence.

National Diabetes Week

National Diabetes Week runs from the 10th to the 16th of July in 2022. This year, the focus is on challenging diabetes-related stigma - four out of five people living with diabetes report these experiences at some point.

This can result in people not sharing their diagnosis with others, or not accessing the help and support they need. By working to build understanding, we can support those in our community and families who are living with diabetes.

Diabetes and Incontinence

280 Australians develop diabetes every day, so understanding the relationship between diabetes and incontinence is also crucial for those who are diagnosed or are in carer roles, supporting individuals with diabetes across their daily management needs.

It’s common for people with diabetes to have an increased risk of incontinence, with one Norwegian study finding that incontinence affected 39% of women with diabetes, compared to 26% of women without diabetes. While the exact link between diabetes and incontinence is unknown, proposed connections include:

  • Pressure from obesity placed on your bladder - as our pelvic floor muscles support most of our body structure, excess weight puts further strain on these muscles, thereby weakening them.
  • Nerve damage - long-term diabetes may cause damage to the nerves (neuropathy) related to the bladder and bowel, which could result in mild to severe incontinence over time.
  • Compromised immunity - compromised immune system can increase the risk of urinary tract infections, which can cause incontinence
  • Diabetes medication - there is a possible link between the medications used to control Type 2 diabetes and loose bowel actions

High blood sugar levels, which are synonymous with diabetes, can also lead to increases in thirst levels, resulting in the need to urinate more frequently.

Incontinence Management with Diabetes

Although the exact connection between diabetes and incontinence is unknown, there are a number of key tools that can help to reduce the impact of incontinence symptoms related to diabetes. These include:

  • High-Fibre Diet - a healthy diet that’s rich in dietary fibre can help to keep bowel movements regular. Drinking adequate fluids is also important in protecting against bladder irritation, while also improving bowel function. Adults need at least 30gm of fibre each day. Having 2‐3 servings of fruit, 5 servings of vegetables and fibre-rich cereals and breads will help provide the necessary daily intake required
  • Exercise - 30 minutes of exercise per day, including walking, is a powerful tool in managing diabetes-related incontinence. In addition, you can also perform regular pelvic floor exercises as recommended by a physician to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and provide additional control over bowel movements.
  • Drinking Water - water is always a good choice, but other drinks may actually cause you to go more simply because of what’s in them. Minimise caffeinated, sugary and carbonated drinks and decrease or eliminate alcohol consumption. All of these have been known to irritate the bladder. Recommended daily fluid intake varies for each person and factors such as weather, exercise and overall health conditions should be considered.
  • Good Toilet Habits - everyone should visit the toilet when their bladder feels full, and they should allow enough time to completely empty their bladder and bowel

Continence Management Products

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re experiencing incontinence, finding the right products that can help you smoothly manage this on a day-to-day basis is paramount to your peace of mind.

ConfidenceClub is Australia’s #1 direct-to-consumer continence management brand, providing high-quality, comfortable and practical continence management products that provide confidence where it counts.

Diabetes can lead to both urinary and faecal incontinence issues, requiring continence products that are reliable, easy to use and personalised to the individual’s needs and preferences. With a wide range of continence products, ConfidenceClub helps to remove the unknown and difficult search for incontinence management. Pads and guards, pull-up pants, all-in-one slips, teen nappies and disposable protectors can all make the job of managing diabetes-related incontinence smooth and dignified for both diabetes-impacted individuals and their carers.

With proactive management and the help of the best continence management products on the market, give yourself and your loved ones the confidence and freedom to pursue the experiences you love each and every day.

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