Diabetes and Incontinence

Portrait of a female doctor holding her patient chart in bright

Diabetes and urinary incontinence are a classic couple. On their own, each would be a heavy topic and a nightmare to deal with; together, they put the body through quite a roller coaster. For a number of reasons, diabetes vastly increases the risk for urinary incontinence.

Diabetes – A Quick Rundown

Diabetes, for our young readers out there, is a common medical condition characterized by excessive amounts of glucose in the blood. In layman's' terms, diabetes is when your body has problems managing your blood sugar. Normally, your body produces the hormone insulin, which helps your body absorb the glucose in your blood. When insulin is not being produced in sufficient numbers, your body has a very hard time correctly processing carbohydrates. Given that carbohydrates provide energy for your body to function, diabetes can wreak havoc on your health.

Diabetes comes in two main forms, known appropriately as “type 1” and “type 2”. Type 1, also referred to as “juvenile diabetes”, is a chronic condition usually developing in the teenage years where the pancreas does not produce the proper amounts of insulin. Type 2, also known as “adult onset diabetes” describes when the body develops a resistance to insulin and generally occurs in middle-aged or elderly people. Type 2 diabetes typically occurs as the result of a poorly managed diet. If you consume too many simple or refined carbohydrates, such as those found in candy, soda, white bread, pasta, baked goods, etc., the constantly high blood sugar levels will make it difficult for your body to produce enough insulin to efficiently absorb all that glucose. Having chronically high blood sugar can cause damage all over the body, particularly in the kidneys, retinas, and nervous system.

What Does Diabetes Have to Do With My Pee?

We are glad you asked! Diabetes and urine have quite the relationship. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the blood to create urine. When there is an excessive amount of glucose in the blood, as with diabetes, your kidneys cannot always process it. This means that the extra glucose will simply be excreted into the urine, resulting in more frequent urination and a greater strain on the bladder. A bladder that is working more than its used to may weaken over time and may not be able to empty itself, resulting in urinary incontinence.

vintage tone of asian woman is sitting on the toilet.

In order to excrete that excess glucose, the body will often absorb water from other cells in the body, contributing to a possible rise in urination. Dehydration, dry eyes, and dry mouth are common symptoms for people suffering from diabetes for this exact reason. If you respond to this problem by increasing the amount of fluid you take in, you may also increase the risk of urinary incontinence if your bladder is not up to the task.

Last but certainly not least, we have the neurogenic bladder. Chronically high levels of glucose in the blood can cause some serious damage to various parts of the nervous system. People with diabetes often deal with eye problems as a result, but the bladder can also encounter a tremendous amount of nerve damage. This decreases the ability of bladder to properly coordinate its signals with the brain, meaning that it will have trouble communicating when its full or not. The bladder may not have as much control, meaning you may find yourself straining to pee more than you're used to. The bladder may even see a decrease in its ability to properly contract, meaning you may have problems fully emptying your bladder. This can result in the small leaks of urine so familiar to those with incontinence.

Diabetes, Incontinence, and Obesity – The Big 3

Even if you can avoid the dehydration and nerve damage from diabetes, that doesn't mean you are immune to incontinence. Given that obesity is a strong risk factor for both diabetes and urinary incontinence, there is still a strong possibility of encountering bladder problems when dealing with diabetes. When your body gains a large amount of weight, the extra fat can put additional pressure on your organs. The bladder is especially vulnerable to this, given its unique position in the body.

The link between obesity and diabetes is fairly straightforward. It should be no surprise that eating too much candy or too many baked goods results in an increased risk of weight gain, in addition to the havoc they wreak on your blood sugar.

What's the Solution?

All rights belong to Relevium Labs Inc. © 2017

All rights belong to Relevium Labs Inc. © 2017

Diabetes is a big disease, with the International Diabetes Federation estimating that 371 million people around the world suffer from the disease, and it does the body no favors. Diabetes can be managed (under the strict care and control of a licensed medical professional of course) through improved diet, increased exercise, and, if necessary, proper usage of certain medications, but the current treatments for urinary incontinence are shockingly weak. Kegels are notoriously tricky to properly execute and many people find it difficult to pay attention to any other activity when doing them. Solutions such as pads or special underwear are not really helpful, as they mask the problem in an expensive, inconvenient manner without actually addressing the underlying causes. Plus, they can be embarrassing for some people.

Yarlap, as always, is here to help. You simply use the device for as little as 20 minutes a day, leaving you ample free time to exercise, prepare meals, and focus on your glucose levels. The small electronic probe, will not impact your kidney functions, dehydrate you any further, or change your appetite, unlike many medications. Our device cannot correct your body's blood sugar levels, but it will help you regain control of your bladder.

Charlotte BeeComment