Other Treatments for Urinary Incontinence
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Other treatments for urinary incontinence include the following:
Bladder retraining is often an initial treatment for incontinence, and requires that you have at least some control over bladder function. For example, if you know that you tend to leak urine three hours after you urinate, you could empty your bladder every 2½ hours, then gradually increase the interval between trips to the bathroom.
Not all the muscles involved with bladder control are automatic. You have control over the sphincter that holds urine in. Therefore, you can exercise it to strengthen it by doing ]]>Kegel exercises]]> :
- Tighten the muscles in your bottom as if you were holding in urine and bowel movements. These muscles contract together.
- Hold them as tight as you can for a slow count of ten.
- Repeat 10 times each session and several sessions each day.
Pessaries are devices inserted into the vagina. Most are designed to improve the function of the bladder sphincter by supporting the floor of the bladder.
Regularly emptying the bladder by inserting a tube (catheter) keeps the urine from spilling uncontrollably. Patients with neurogenic bladders learn how to do this by themselves. Those who are incapable of caring for themselves may have professional caregivers, such as nurses, perform this procedure regularly. It must be done under sterile conditions to avoid causing a bladder infection.
By using electrical sensors, it is possible to make the contractions of the sphincter muscle visible or audible. While attached to such a device, you are encouraged to increase the signal, which strengthens the involved muscle. This form of treatment has not yet become widely accepted.
When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider
Except for catheterization, these methods are relatively safe. If you are doing your own catheterization, you will have a thorough training course that will teach you when to call for help, such as:
- Signs of ]]>urinary tract infection]]>
- Difficulty inserting or removing the catheter
American Foundation for Urologic Disease website. Available at: http://www.afud.org .
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. McGraw-Hill; 1998.
National Association for Continence website. Available at: http://www.nafc.org/site2/index.html .
Last reviewed November 2008 by ]]>Adrienne Carmack, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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