Dementia patients face higher risk of urinary incontinence

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Seniors with dementia are three times more likely to have urinary incontinence and four times more likely to have fecal incontinence, according to a new study.

British researchers, from the University College London, Kingston University and St. George's University, looked at the records of more than 200,000 seniors, about a quarter of whom had dementia, to determine whether dementia played a role in incontinence diagnoses.

The investigators found 42 out of 1,000 men with dementia had a diagnosis of urinary incontinence, compared to 20 out of 1,000 men without dementia. Men with dementia also had significantly higher rates of fecal incontinence.

Among women with dementia, 34 in 1,000 had urinary incontinence and 10 in 1,000 had fecal incontinence.

These seniors were also more likely to receive treatment for their incontinence and indwelling catheters, which increases their risk of urinary tract infections.

In their conclusions, the researchers suggest that policymakers and insurers consider added support for seniors with dementia still living at home, including advice and care support.

The study is available in PLOS Medicine.