Urinary Incontinence Treatment Overview
Urinary incontinence affects millions of people all over the world. Clinically speaking, it presents as an uncontrollable release of urine.
There is a general misconception that bladder incontinence is a natural part of aging. While getting older is certainly a contributing factor, it is not the cause of incontinence itself. Adult incontinence is caused by a variety of reasons, including medical conditions, physical problems, and daily habits. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from incontinence, largely due to the stress that pregnancy and childbirth put on the body. Some men begin to experience it because of an enlarged prostate. When symptoms manifest, it is best to have a trained physician diagnose the condition so the most appropriate intervention can be used.
For those suffering from bladder incontinence, there are a variety of urinary incontinence treatment options available.
One of the most sensible places to start is to modify behaviors that cause incontinence. Many of these modification are very simple, including the following:
- Reduce Weight – By losing weight, many find that symptoms of urinary incontinence diminish or disappear altogether.
- Limit Liquids – While it is important to stay properly hydrated, excessive liquid intake can cause incontinence. However, reducing liquid intake too far can ultimately lead to a bladder infection, so talk to your physician about what’s right for you.
- Alcohol and Caffeine – There are certain foods that irritate the bladder and act as a diuretic. Two of the most common ones are alcohol and caffeine. Try removing them from your diet for a few weeks to see if they are contributing to an incontinence problem.
- Constipation –Avoid becoming constipated in order to keep pressure off of the urinary tract.
- Bladder Training – To help strengthen weak bladder muscles, set up a schedule for going to the bathroom. Over time, begin increasing the time between visits. This process may take several weeks to show results, but it can be very effective.
Another treatment type that can be very effective is physical therapy, and some of the more common ones are listed below.
- Kegel Exercises – When the muscles of the pelvic floor become weakened, Kegel exercises are an effective way to rebuild muscle strength. Since these muscles are the main support system for the urethra and bladder, it is important to keep the pelvic floor muscles strong and flexible.
- Biofeedback – When a person is not sure how to isolate and flex their pelvic floor muscles, biofeedback can help identify the different sets of muscles.
- Vaginal Cones – These cones are essentially tiny weights that are placed into the vagina and held in place using the pelvic floor muscles. Gradually the weight of the cone is increased as the muscles gain strength.
Depending on the cause of incontinence, medications may be prescribed. Some may have side effects, which are usually relatively mild. Consult with your physician for more information.
When no other intervention works, surgery may be a suitable option, especially if the incontinence is very severe. Surgical procedures can be as simple as injecting bulking agents, or as complex as constructing a sling to support internal structures. Again, depending on the cause of the incontinence, different procedures may be appropriate. In older men, the prostate gland may become enlarged and interfere with bladder health, so surgery involving the prostate is not uncommon.
Urinary incontinence is caused by a variety of physical conditions, and each treatment may be appropriate for a specific underlying cause. For this reason, it is important to have a medical professional diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment to produce the most promising results.
From simple behavior modification to complex surgery, various treatments may be appropriate for different underlying causes. To manage incontinence in the best way possible, it is important to understand the underlying cause, and then apply the proper intervention.
Filed under: Incontinence Treatments