Parkinson's Disease & Incontinence: Causes & Treatments

Man with Parkinson's disease

Key Takeaways:

  • Incontinence may develop in those with Parkinson’s due a disruption in the signals from the brain to the bladder and bowels.
  • Using incontinence products, making certain lifestyle changes, and taking medications may help manage Parkinson’s and incontinence.

Around 90,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year, and it’s widely known that the condition can cause issues with physical movement. 

Parkinson’s can also cause incontinence in some people, and caregiving for a person with the disease may be difficult if you aren’t prepared to manage bladder and bowel control conditions.

Treatments for Parkinson's disease and incontinence infographicTreatments for Parkinson's disease and incontinence infographic

IN THIS ARTICLE:

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Does Parkinson’s Disease Cause Incontinence?

What Treatments Can Help With Bladder Problems?

How to Qualify for Free Bladder Control Products

INCONTINENCE PRODUCTS THROUGH INSURANCE:

Aeroflow Urology is in-network with many Medicaid and Medicaid-managed insurance plans and is accredited by Medicaid. Complete our Eligibility Form, and we’ll automatically check to see if your plan covers incontinence supplies. ***Must meet certain requirements to qualify.***

You will also receive the care and attention every person managing incontinence deserves: A personalized list of 100% insurance-covered incontinence supplies, a dedicated Continence Care Specialist you can contact during business hours, a user-friendly online portal for easy monthly reordering, and educational content.

Get the continence care you need with the dignity you deserve. Join the Aeroflow Urology family today! It only takes 2 minutes to get started.

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What Is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological disorder that progresses slowly and worsens with time. The disease attacks the brain and its nerve cells. These nerve cells contain dopamine, a chemical that aids in controlling and coordinating physical movement.

As PD progresses, associated symptoms worsen and a person’s ability to control muscle movement decreases. There is currently not a known cure for PD. 

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Symptoms of PD vary widely based on the individual person, but can include:

  • Tremors
  • Shaking
  • Rigidity
  • Slow movement.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Difficulty with communication and speech. 
  • Urinary incontinence and / or bowel incontinence. 

Does Parkinson's Disease Cause Incontinence?

Symptoms and side effects of PD are unique to each individual with the disease, so bladder and bowel issues are not always present in everyone. However, incontinence has been linked to PD; it develops due a disruption in the signals from the brain to the bladder and bowels, leading to bowel and bladder dysfunction.

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control, resulting in bladder symptoms like leakage, and bowel incontinence is the loss of bowel control that results in fecal leakage. This loss of control is usually due to an interruption or disconnect between the brain and bladder / bowels.

According to the National Association for Continence (NAFC), bowel incontinence has the most prevalence among PD patients; 80% of people with the condition experience constipation or the inability to make a bowel movement. 

Common types of incontinence in those with PD include:

  • Nocturia: Waking up more than 2 times in the night to urinate. 
  • Urge incontinence / Overactive bladder (OAB): Feeling the sudden and intense urge to urinate and increased urinary frequency, sometimes resulting in leakage.
  • Bowel incontinence: Leaking fecal matter.
  • Urinary retention: Inability to empty the bladder completely due to a blockage (enlarged prostate in men) or neurologic impairment from PD.
Man with Parkinson's disease getting helped up by nurseMan with Parkinson's disease getting helped up by nurse

What Treatments Can Help With Bladder Problems?

1. Incontinence Products

Caring for someone with bowel or urinary dysfunction and PD can be challenging at times. Using incontinence products is one of the easiest ways to help your loved one with managing bladder and bowel leaks– especially because they may be able to receive these supplies for free through insurance! 

Aeroflow Urology offers a wide variety of medical-grade products. You or your loved one may qualify for a combination of the following every single month with free delivery.

  • Adult briefs.
  • Adult protective underwear.
  • Intermittent catheters.
  • Overnight briefs.
  • Bladder control pads.
  • Underpads (chux).

All of these options are excellent products for individuals with PD because they offer ultimate absorbency, odor control, and comfort while allowing for easy changes.

Woman with Parkinson's disease wearing incontinence underwearWoman with Parkinson's disease wearing incontinence underwear

To see if your loved one qualifies, fill out our simple 2-step Eligibility Form.

2. Lifestyle Adjustments

Adjustments such as eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, using stool softener, and establishing toileting routines can help with incontinence symptoms. 

3. Medications

Certain anticholinergic medications, such as oxybutynin and tolterodine, may be prescribed for those with PD that can reduce symptoms of urge incontinence / OAB. Speak with your healthcare provider or urologist about these urinary incontinence medications to ensure they won’t make your symptoms worse. 

4. Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, reducing symptoms of urinary incontinence. You can do these exercises at home if you are physically able. 

Check Your Coverage for Free Supplies

With over 12K 5-star reviews on Google, Aeroflow Urology helps individuals of all ages with incontinence receive protective supplies through insurance.

Here's how it works:

1. Submit your information through our form to verify your coverage.

2. Call your doctor for a prescription for incontinence products.

3. Choose your free products online from a personalized list.

4. Reorder for free each month easily through our reordering portal.

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Aleece Fosnight

Aleece Fosnight, MSPAS, PA-C, CSC-S, CSE, NCMP, IF, HAES is a Medical Advisor and Writer for Aeroflow Urology and a board-certified physician assistant specializing in sexual medicine, women’s health, and urology. In 2019, she opened up her own private practice, the Fosnight Center for Sexual Health, and implemented the sexual health grand rounds curriculum at her local hospital and residency program.

Aleece is also the founder of the Fosnight Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and training of professionals in the sexual health field and providing funding for access to healthcare services in her local community.


About the Author

Marlee Septak is the Senior Content Specialist at Aeroflow Urology. She brings a deep understanding of incontinence and health conditions associated with it to her writing. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago and holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. Marlee has contributed to various magazines and blogs, including Borgen Magazine, Echo Magazine, Chicago Ideas Week, Assuaged, and Peaceful Dumpling. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, and just sitting down with a good book.


References

Statistics | Parkinson’s Foundation. (n.d.). Www.parkinson.org. https://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/statistics#:~:text=Nearly%2090%2C000%20people%20in%20the

Parkinson’s Disease And Incontinence. (n.d.). National Association for Continence. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://nafc.org/parkinsons-disease/

Siegl, E., Lassen, B., & Saxer, S. (2013). [Incontinence--a common issue for people with Parkinson’s disease. A systematic literature review]. Pflege Zeitschrift, 66(9), 540–544. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24137917/ 

Disclaimer

Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology website is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care from a healthcare professional. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.

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