Synonyms for “incontinence” are wetting, enuresis, urinary incontinence. The term “incontinence” does not refer to a single clinical picture. Rather, this term covers a number of diseases in which substances of the organism cannot be regularly retained.
In medicine, a distinction is made above all between faecal and urinary incontinence. In addition, the uncontrolled dripping of milk from the mammary glands (milk incontinence) and the inability to prevent the escape of intestinal gases (flatulence) are also assigned to the umbrella term “incontinence”. In medical terminology, the term urinary incontinence refers to the (age-related) loss or failure to learn the ability to store urine in the bladder without loss.
The affected patients usually cannot decide for themselves when and where the bladder should be emptied. By definition, incontinence is present when only the smallest drops of urine escape from the bladder in an uncontrolled and unintentional manner. The term fecal incontinence, on the other hand, describes a condition in which the affected patient is unable to arbitrarily hold back his or her bowel movements and/or intestinal wind.
In most cases, older people are affected by this type of incontinence. For various pathological reasons, however, fecal incontinence can also develop in young patients. Both in the presence of fecal incontinence and the development of urination disorders, an enormous physical and psychosocial burden can be placed on the affected persons.
Many patients who suffer from fecal or urinary incontinence feel severely restricted in their everyday life and for this reason withdraw more and more from their social environment. Especially for young patients, the inability to retain urine or stool represents an enormous burdening situation. However, all forms of incontinence have in common that the initiation of a suitable form of therapy should be preceded by extensive diagnostics.
Continence problems of all kinds can be relatively well regulated with many causes. Some basic diseases can even be cured and incontinence can thus be completely eliminated. For this reason, treatment should urgently be adapted to the causal disease.