How Does Epilepsy Cause Incontinence?

With epilepsy, there is a broad range of issues to worry about, such as biting your tongue or collapsing.

However, epilepsy and incontinence are often related, and both conditions could be warning signs of one another.

So, how exactly are epilepsy and incontinence related? 

Epilepsy & How It Relates to Incontinence

Epilepsy is simply defined as a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain that may lead to recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, commonly referred to as seizures. 

Neurological disorders are also related to urinary incontinence; 39% of patients with epilepsy had at least one urinary symptom and urinary incontinence was the most common.

When it comes to epilepsy and incontinence, the relation may be caused by the types of seizures that occur.

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Epileptic Seizures and Incontinence

  • Tonic Seizures, which are also known as generalized onset seizures, occur when the muscles become tense and rigid. They may also be clonic, meaning the muscles have jerking movements. Atonic seizures occur when the muscles become weak. All of which can affect the bladder and urinary tract by increasing the amount of pressure placed on the bowels. With muscle contractions and weakness, the pelvic muscles may become unable to hold urine, resulting in accidental leakage or total voiding of the bladder.
  • Absence seizures don't have the muscle movements typically associated with seizure symptoms. Instead, they have non-motor symptoms such as lapses in awareness and staring spells. They tend to only last a few seconds long and can be mistaken for daydreaming. During these episodes signals from the brain to retain urine may get mixed up as consciousness may be impaired, resulting in the total loss of urine.

It's common, especially during an absence seizure to have no memory of the event. People suddenly regain consciousness and wonder why their pants are wet. This can often be a warning sign in children if absence seizures have been missed. If your child has an accident with no memory of it, they should be taken to their healthcare provider right away.

Common seizure symptoms include: 

  • Temporary confusion.
  • Incontinence
  • Staring spells
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements.
  • Sudden fear or anxiety.
  • Lack of consciousness.

Common incontinence symptoms include:

  • Urine leakage upon adding stress to the bladder due to activities such as laughing, sneezing, or lifting something heavy.
  • Feeling the sudden strong urge to urinate and failing to make it to the restroom in time.
  • Frequent urination and leaking due to being unable to fully empty the bladder.
  • Having a physical or mental impairment that makes it difficult to make it to the toilet in time.

If symptoms of incontinence or epilepsy are detected, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider right away, as both can be caused by a more serious condition.

Plus, the sooner you reach a diagnosis, the sooner you can take the proper steps towards managing and treating the condition. Epilepsy is generally treated with the use of medications, sometimes surgery, dietary changes, and devices.

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How to Prevent Incontinence & Epilepsy from Teaming Up

Ensure that you are following these guidelines to help prevent symptoms of epilepsy and incontinence. 

  1. Take your medications on time. Set a schedule with your healthcare provider and set daily reminders if needed.
  2. Use incontinence products, such as pediatric diapers, adult briefs, bladder control pads, or underpads to help minimize messes and keep you or your loved one protected from leaks.
  3. Have patience.
  4. Be prepared for seizures and accidents by knowing first aid. 
  5. Speak with a healthcare professional or pharmacist about drug interactions before taking them with your medications to avoid drug interactions that could trigger seizures.
  6. Get adequate sleep; It's reccomended that children get 9 to 13 hours of sleep and adults should get 7 to 8. 
  7. Avoid seizure triggers, such as alcohol, flashing lights, drugs, and missing medications.
  8. Avoid foods that could trigger seizures, such as high-sugar foods that can cause blood spikes and crashes.
  9. Plan ahead and take extra clothing items with you, such as pants, underwear, wipes, and incontinence products in case there is a seizure-related accident.

Medicaid Covered Incontinence Supplies

Incontinence can be treated with the use of medical equipment, medication, possible surgery, and lifestyle changes as well. However, in some cases, incontinence can only be managed. You may qualify to receive them through Medicaid.

Simply fill out our quick qualification form and we will contact your doctor and provider to make sure your monthly supply of incontinence products are sent directly to your home.

Then we will follow up with you on a monthly basis to ensure that you’re still matched with the best products to suit your individual needs. If you need to make a change to your supply, we’ll help you do so in a matter of minutes!