Urinary Incontinence-Treatment

Treatment depends on how bad your symptoms are and how they affect your life.

There are four main treatment approaches for urge incontinence:

Bladder and pelvic floor muscle training

Lifestyle changes

Medication

Surgery

BLADDER RETRAINING

Managing urge incontinence usually begins with bladder retraining. This helps you become aware of when you lose urine because of bladder spasms. Then you relearn the skills you need to hold and release urine.

You set a schedule of times when you should try to urinate. You try to hold in urination between these times.

One method is to force yourself to wait 1 to 1 1/2 hours between trips to the bathroom, even if you have any leakage or an urge to urinate in between these times.

As you become better at waiting, gradually increase the time by 1/2 hour until you are urinating every 3 - 4 hours.

PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLE TRAINING

Sometimes, Kegel exercises, biofeedback, or electrical stimulation may be used with bladder retraining. These methods help strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor:

Kegel exercises. These are mainly used to treat people with stress incontinence. However, these exercises may also help relieve the symptoms of urge incontinence.

You squeeze your pelvic floor muscles like you are trying to stop the flow of urine.

Do this for 10 seconds, and then relax for 10 seconds.

Repeat 10 times, three times a day.

Vaginal cones. This is a weighted cone that is inserted into the vagina to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

You place the cone into the vagina.

Then you try to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles to hold the cone in place.

You can wear the cone for up to 15 minutes at a time, two times a day.

Biofeedback. This method can help you learn to identify and control your pelvic floor muscles.

Some therapists place a sensor in the vagina (for women) or the anus (for men) so they can tell when they are squeezing the pelvic floor muscles.

A monitor will display a graph showing which muscles are squeezing and which are at rest.

The therapist can help you find the right muscles for performing Kegel exercises.

Electrical stimulation. This uses a gentle electrical current to contract your bladder muscles.

The current is delivered using an anal or vaginal probe.

This therapy may be done at the health care provider's office or at home.

Treatment sessions usually last 20 minutes and may be done every 1 - 4 days.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Pay attention to how much water you drink and when you drink.

Drinking enough water will help keep odors away.

Drink a little bit of fluid at a time throughout the day, so your bladder does not need to handle a large amount of urine at one time. Drink less than 8 ounces at one time.

Do not drink large amounts of fluids with meals.

Sip small amounts of fluids between meals.

Stop drinking fluids about 2 hours before bedtime.

Avoid carbonated drinks.

It also may help to stop eating foods that may irritate the bladder, such as:

Caffeine

Highly acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and juices

Spicy foods

Avoid activities that irritate the urethra and bladder. This includes taking bubble baths or using harsh soaps.