Although nearly half of elderly adults have episodes of urinary incontinence (UI), bladder problems are not a natural consequence of aging and not exclusively a problem of the elderly.
In 8 of 10 cases, UI can be improved. But since fewer than half of those with bladder problems ever discuss the condition with their health care professionals, the condition often goes unaddressed and untreated, keeping patients with UI at risk for rashes, sores, and skin and urinary tract infections.
Physicians can create an environment where patients feel comfortable raising the issue. Here are some strategies:
Initiate a dialogue about UI rather than waiting for patients to bring it up.
Frame the condition as something many people experience and one with many solutions, some as simple as diet and exercise.
Make clear recommendations for diagnosis and treatment that patients can act on.