Incontinence and Diabetes: What is the Relationship?

Over 1.8 million Australians are impacted by diabetes. With a link between incontinence and diabetes, here are our simple 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.

incontinence and diabetes

Diabetes impacts around 1.8 million Australians. This figure 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.

incontinence and diabetes

Incontinence and Diabetes

Around 280 Australians develop diabetes every day, so understanding the relationship between incontinence and diabetes 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 more research is needed to decipher the exact link between diabetes and incontinence, some 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 and diabetes

Incontinence Management with Diabetes

While we still have more to learn about the underlying causes linking incontinence and diabetes, there is a number of helpful 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. 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 - Exercising for 30 minutes per day is a powerful tool in managing diabetes-related incontinence. This includes walking. 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 bladder and bowel movements.
  • Drinking Water - Staying hydrated is crucial to not only your overall health, but for continence management as well. It's important to also note that other drinks can cause you to experience incontinence 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 or bowels feel full, and they should allow enough time to completely empty their bladder and bowel.
incontinence and diabetes

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 both your physical and mental wellbeing.

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, 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 at times confusing, search for continence management products.

Pads and guards, pull-up pants, all-in-one slips, teen nappies and disposable protectors can all make 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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