Can COVID-19 Cause Adult Incontinence?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the source of many challenges for people impacted by the virus around the world. While respiratory issues are the most commonly discussed COVID symptoms, disruption of sleep patterns and quality that often accompany the virus can contribute to new or worsening urinary incontinence. This may lead you to wonder: can COVID-19 cause adult incontinence?

COVID May Contribute to Urinary Issues

According to a study presented at the American Urological Association’s 2021 Annual Meeting, many COVID-19 patients experienced increased frequency, urgency, and nocturnia—the need to urinate multiple times per night—for the first time.

Some patients reported waking up to urinate as many as five times in one night. With so many trips to the bathroom interrupting normal sleep patterns, persistent and growing fatigue can become an issue that further hinders recovery from the virus.

COVID-19 Impacts Sleep Habits

Many of the symptoms associated with COVID can negatively affect the ability to sleep, including:
• Fever or chills
• Cough
• Difficulty breathing
• Sore throat
• Congestion
• Muscle aches
• Diarrhea

Due to symptoms, some COVID patients turn to sedatives or sleeping pills for help. Sleep aids may lead to a more restful night, but unfortunately, they may also contribute to adult incontinence.

Sleep Aids May Increase Adult Incontinence

During sleep, the brain monitors the fullness of the bladder and sends signals to wake up when urination is required. Sleep aids help the body enter a restful state, but a deeper level of sleep can cause the brain to ignore the bladder’s signals until it’s too late.

Sleep aids can also cause the urethral sphincter to become too relaxed and unable to properly control or prevent the flow of urine.

Since sleep is essential to survival, some may be forced to risk the inconvenience of involuntary urination in order to get a good night’s sleep.

Proactive Protection Can Help

Since COVID-19 affects people in different ways, predicting whether it will trigger incontinence for the first time or worsen existing cases is virtually impossible.

For those experiencing urinary incontinence for the first time or have had their existing condition worsen, wearing our absorbent underwear or briefs can provide safe, convenient protection.

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