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Why do people with dementia have trouble with bladder and bowel control?

People with dementia have memory loss and may be confused and not know where they are. This can cause or make bladder and bowel control problems worse.

People with dementia may have trouble with:

  • “Holding on” until they get to the toilet.
  • Finding the toilet.
  • Knowing they need to unzip or pull down their pants when going to the toilet.
  • Being away from home at places where they don’t know where the toilet is.
  • Knowing when their bladder or bowel is empty.
  • Being aware of the need to pass urine or empty their bowels.
  • Urinating or opening their bowels in places they should not.
  • Depression, anxiety or stress, or illness, which may make bladder and bowel control problems worse.

Yeŋö ye kɔɔc cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr aläc ken ku yääc ken kuöc muk nhïïm?

Kɔc wënde cï käŋ muk nhïïm apiɛth ku alëu bï ke wääc ku acï lëu bï ŋic anen të tɔ̈ kek thïn. Kënë alëu bï këdäŋ bɛ̈i wulɛ̈ cɔl alɛ̈nydu ku duöt yäc la roor cï arac apɛi.

Kɔɔc cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr aa lëu bïk:

  • Ciën tɛ̈ ye kek lɛc wälä la roor duut.
  • Ya määr tɛ̈ lek ɣön laac/la roor.
  • Nhïïm ya määr riët thutha wälä aa lëu bïk nhïïm määr miit bantolon piny tɛ̈ lɛɛc kek.
  • Nhïïm liääp apɛy tɛ̈ rëër kek bei yic ku kuckä tɛ̈ rëër ɣön laac/la roor thïn.
  • Kaam cï alɛ̈ɛ̈c/yäc yic thök kuc tɛ̈ le kek roor.
  • Kuc lɔn wïc kek laac/la roor.
  • Laac wälä lek roor thäi yic.
  • Dhiën puöu, diɛɛr, thiai guöp wälä tuaany aa lëu bïk muŋ nhom alɛ̈ɛ̈c/la roor cɔl a ril yic.

Can anything be done for people with dementia who have trouble with bladder and bowel control?

Yes!

While dementia may rule out some treatments, there are ways to provide comfort and dignity.

There are some broad rules for working in a helpful way with people with dementia:

  • Listen with care and respond to the person.
  • Get rid of clutter. Keep the space around them simple and well known to them.
  • Show respect and sincere care.

Check bladder and bowel control

Seek help from their doctor, physiotherapist, or continence nurse.

A bladder and bowel control check up will include a physical check and questions about when, where and why problems happen.

The carer is often the best person to give the details needed to check bladder and bowel control, such as:

  • the time the person goes to the toilet and/or leaks;
  • how wet the person is:
    minor = underwear is damp;
    moderate = skirt or trousers are wet; or
    severe = chair, floor or bed is flooded; and
  • when and how often they open their bowels.

Manage poor bladder and bowel control

  • Treat the cause of the problem. Their doctor, physiotherapist or continence nurse can help find the causes and suggest how to treat them.
  • Review medicines. Medicines may help, but they can also make people more confused, and make bladder and bowel control problems worse.
  • Make sure the person with dementia drinks 1.5 - 2 litres of fluid per day (unless a doctor says this is not okay). Drinking water can help treat bladder infections, make the bowels work better and keep the bladder healthy. Coffee, tea and cola have a lot of caffeine, which can upset the bladder and make the bladder harder to control. Try to cut down on how many of these drinks they have.
  • Treat constipation. Make sure they eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water through the day, and stay active.
  • Watch for signs they want to go to the toilet. Ask them to use the toilet at the times you think they most often go or are most often wet. If you note the time this happens you will be able to see if it gets better.
  • If they have trouble with zips and buttons, change to track suits, trousers with elastic waists, or use Velcro.
  • Keep the way to the toilet clear. Don’t leave things in the way that might make it hard to get to the toilet. A night light may help. Make the toilet door easy to see.
  • Think about using community resources to help with the load of caring for a person with dementia – such as laundry, shopping and respite care.

Bladder management products such as pads and pants may improve quality of life. You may be able to get some help to cover the cost of these products. Advice on whether you are able to receive this help and the types of products you can get can be found on the National Continence Helpline (Free call* 1800 33 00 66). These things may reduce how often bladder and bowel mishaps occur and how bad they are.

Leŋ kë lëu bë kuöny kɔɔc cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr wën ye laac/la roor jöör

Ɣɛ̈ɛ̈!

Rin ye kek kɔɔc cï tɛ̈k-tɛ̈k määr, döc a lëu bï yic riɛl ku a leŋ tɛ̈ dɛ̈d lëu bë kuöny keek.

A leŋ tɛ̈ ye kuöny kɔɔc cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr

  • Piŋ kë ye lueel ku loi tɛ̈n yeen.
  • Nyaai anyuɔɔn ye lɔ̈ɔ̈m. Cɔl a det tɛ̈ rëër yen thïn rin bë dhël këriëëc ebën ŋic.
  • Thek ku ŋic muk nhom.

Cɔl akïm a cɛɛth alɛ̈ɛ̈c ku yäc

Cɔl rot a kony akiëmde, raan deen ye duääny wulɛ̈ akuɔny akïm ë thiu thar.

Ciɛɛth alɛ̈ɛ̈c ku yäc a bë yic laŋ cɛɛth guöp ku thiëc kaam/ɣɔ̈n yen laac/la roor thïn yäŋ.

Raan muk raan cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr yen apath bë ya thiëëc wël kä:

  • Kaam ye raan cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr laac/la roor;
  • Lac ye yök ye guöp:
    Lik = juaan atiɔp;
    Juëc = a cë alath buut; wälä
    Boor = thööc/piny/agerem a cë bor; ku
  • Ku kaam/tɛ̈ ye kek la roor.

Muŋ nhom alɛ̈ny/yäny cë lär

  • Wiëc kën raan cɔl a lac/la roor döc. Akiëmde, raan deen ye duääny wälä akuɔnyakïm ë thiu thar a lëu bë ken ke bɛy lɛk yïïn ku lëk yïïn tɛ ba kuöny raan cï tɛktɛk määr.
  • Caath wal. Wal aa lëu bï ye kony, kekëdäŋ aa lëu bïk ye cɔl a liääp nhom apɛy ku jɔl kuc apɛy tɛ̈ wïc yen laac/la roor.
  • Cɔl raan cï tɛktɛk määr a dëk bïïny ka dhetem ɣet bɛ̈t kööl tök yic (tɛ këc akïm ye pëën). Dëŋ pïu a lëu bë cak alɛɛc tek yic ku cɔl yäc a lär bë raan ŋiɛc ya la roor. Bun, cäi ku kola aa leŋ kape dït tet ku keek aa raan cɔl a kuc alɛɛc/yäc muk nhom. Tek ke yiic tɛ yïn ke dek apɛy.
  • Wiëc kuil döc. Cɔl kek a cɛ̈m mïth tiim juääc, liëëm ku dëkkä pïu juääc ku rëërkä ke duɛ̈ɛ̈ny ke gup aköl.
  • Ye raan cï tɛk-tɛk määr muk nhom tɛ wïc yen laac/la roor. Cɔl a la ɣön laac/la roor kaam wën ye tïŋ ciët wïc yen laac/la roor. Na ŋiëëc kaam kën ka lëu bë ŋic ku ca raan cï tɛktɛk määr kony bë ŋiɛc ya laac ku le roor.
  • Na ye thutha/dharar jöör, ka yï muɔc alɛ̈th leŋ nhom tïïl wälä bɛlkero.
  • Cɔl dhël la ɣön laac/la roor a lääu yic. Duk kä lɔth ye cök ye puöl dhël yic. Cɔl ye laŋ mermer wakɔ̈u. Cɔl dhël la ɣön laac/la roor ye kë wën tïŋ ku yök yäŋ.
  • Cɔl rot a kony kɔɔc wut muöök ë raan cï tɛk-tɛk määr – a lëu bïk yï kony lɔk alɛth, ɣɔɔc mïïth ku cɔlkä yïïn a lɔŋ.

A leŋ alɛ̈th cë looi bï raan cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr ya kony bë ŋiɛc pïr. A lëu bë akuma yï kony wëëu bïn alɛ̈th kä ɣɔɔc. Na wïc ba ŋic lɔn lëu yen rot tɛ̈n yïïn bë yï kony wëëu ka yï yup Telepun Kuɔɔny ë Kɔɔc ce Lɛc Guum (Yum Majan* 1800 330 066). Alɛ̈th kä aa bë ayäär ë laac/la roor jäŋ yic tek yic.

Can medicine help with bladder and bowel control?

Yes!

  • Antibiotics may be given to treat a bladder infection.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (tablets, patches or creams) may make it easier for post menopausal women to control their bladder.
  • Tablets to relax the bladder may be given to settle an upset bladder, so it can store more urine. This can cut down the number of times the person needs to go to the toilet.
  • Some medicines may cause bladder and bowel control problems, or make them worse. Medicines should be checked by a doctor, to see if any need to be changed.
  • Some medicines for bladder and bowel control problems may cause problems like dry mouth, constipation, poor balance and lack of energy. For people with dementia, there is also a risk they may get more confused. Use of medicines should be watched with care by their doctor. Tell the doctor about any problems the medicines cause.

Lëu bë wal raan cï alɛ̈ɛ̈c ku yäc cak kony?

Ɣɛ̈ɛ̈!

  • Alɛ̈ny cë cak a lëu bï wiëc döc ë wal.
  • Diäär cï run dhiëth thök aa leŋ wal ye gäm keek bïk ke kony tɛ̈ cï alɛ̈ɛ̈c lär (Wal ruil ye dek, wal ye paat kɔc gup tɛ̈dɛ̈t ka wal ye tac kɔc gup).
  • Wal aa lëu bë ke gäm raan bï alɛ̈ɛ̈c gäm döc, rin bë lɛc juääc ya muk. Kën a lëu bë raan cɔl ye rëër kaam bär yic ka këc la laac.
  • Wal kɔ̈k aa lëu bïk dhël lac wälä dhël la roor jal miiny yic apɛy. Wal aa dhil akïm kaŋ caath rin bë tïŋ lɔn wïc kek wɛ̈r.
  • Wal kɔ̈k ye gäm raan bï yen alɛ̈ɛ̈c/yäc muk nhom aa lëu bïk ye kɔɔu thok, kuiil, gäm awiëëc ku thiai guöp. Tɛ̈n kɔɔc cï tɛ̈ktɛ̈k määr, aa lëu bïk nhïïm jal liääp apɛy. Na dek raan wal ka diët ke ye akïm kaŋ caath apath. Lɛ̈k akïm kuat kë bë wääc tɛ̈ dek yïn wal.

Seek help

Qualified nurses are available if you call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66* (Monday to Friday, between 8.00am to 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) for free:

  • Information;
  • Advice; and
  • Leaflets.

If you have difficulty speaking or understanding English you can access the Helpline through the free Telephone Interpreter Service on 13 14 50. The phone will be answered in English, so please name the language you speak and wait on the phone. You will be connected to an interpreter who speaks your language. Tell the interpreter you wish to call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66. Wait on the phone to be connected and the interpreter will assist you to speak with a continence nurse advisor. All calls are confidential.

* Calls from mobile telephones are charged at applicable rates.

Wïc kuɔɔny

Mathaat akïm cï piöc aabï tɔ̈ na yï ayup telepun Kuɔɔny Baai käk thiu thar ee nïmra kënëic tök, bɛ̈t, gueu, diäk, diäk, gueu, dhetem, dhetem*/ 1800 33 00 66* (aköl Tök agut aköl Dhiëc ee Läätic (Monday- Friday) kaam thaa bɛ̈t nhiäk-duur (8am) ku thaa bɛ̈t thëëi (8pm) ee thaa kɔc Australia ciëŋ Ciëën) aye gäm kɔc abɛc:

  • Lëk/Wël;
  • Wëët; ku
  • Athör thiin ë lëk.

Na yïn acie ŋiëc jam thoŋ English apiɛth ka yïn alëu ba telpun luɔi ye kɔc Kuɔny wɛ̈r thokic yuɔ̈p. Cɔl nïmra kënë tök diäk, tök, ŋuan, dhiëc/13 14 50. Tueŋic, abï raan kɔŋ dhuk nhom ee thoŋ English, luel thoŋduɔ̈n ee yïn jam ku tiɛ̈ɛ̈t ee telepunic. Yïn abï tuɔ̈ɔ̈m thok kek raan kɔc waar thook/duwër jam thuɔŋdu, ku jal kek lɛ̈k wɛ̈tduɔ̈n wïc ee yïn kɔc Baai Kuɔɔny Käk thiu thar yuɔ̈p ee nïmra kënëic tök, bɛ̈t, gueu, diäk, diäk, gueu, dhetem, dhetem/ 1800 33 00 66. Tiɛ̈ɛ̈t ee telepunic ku bï yï gam ku duwër abï kony ba jam kek mathaat akïm kɔc lɛ̈k. Telepun duwër aye kɔc yup thïn abɛc/majan ee rin cïn en wëu ye wïc tënë yïn. Kek wël ëbɛ̈n aye thiaan yiic.

* Yup mobaalic ee wëu cam tëcït cɔ̈t baai ëtɛ̈n.

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Last Updated: Wed 15, Jul 2020
Last Reviewed: Tue 17, Mar 2020