Posted on: 9 June 2021
Urinary incontinence is a common problem in the United States. It is estimated that over 33 million Americans live with some type of bladder condition that makes it hard to control urine flow. If you have this problem, you may experience depression, low self-esteem, stress, and anger. However, you don't have to worry, as the condition is treatable with medication, therapies, and lifestyle changes.
How to Treat Urinary Incontinence
Treatment for this condition depends on the underlying cause. The main causes include:
- Bladder or prostate cancer
- Enlarged prostate
- Side effects of surgery
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Neurological disorders
Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence
Even before the doctor recommends any treatment, you may be advised to make lifestyle changes first, such as:
- Adjusting the time and frequency of water intake
- Avoiding caffeinated foods and drinks as well as carbonated beverages
- Limiting intake of alcoholic drinks
- Being more physically active
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
- Eating enough fiber to prevent constipation
If behavioral techniques don't work, the doctor may advise you to try pelvic floor muscle exercises. The most common exercise is Kegel exercises, in which you tighten and relax the muscles that help in controlling urination. The muscles should be contracted for ten seconds and then relaxed. However, this exercise typically only helps with stress-related urinary incontinence.
The doctor may prescribe medication when the first two techniques have failed. On other occasions, medication is used alongside exercises and lifestyle adjustments. The prescribed drugs calm an overactive bladder by relaxing the muscles that control urine flow. The commonly used medication include:
- Topical estrogen
Use of Medical Devices and Therapies
Medical devices can also be used to manage urinary incontinence in women. The most common ones include:
- Urethral Inserts - They are used to temporarily close the bladder opening and removed when one wants to urinate.
- Pessary - It's used to hold the bladder up, preventing urine leakage.
- Botox Injection - The injection helps in relaxing bladder muscles.
- Radiofrequency Therapy - Tissues in the lower urinary tract are heated, making them firmer.
- Bulking Agents - They are injected into the urethra, closing it and preventing leakage.
In most instances, surgery is the last option in urinary incontinence treatment. It is only recommended when all the other therapies have completely failed. The three common surgery options include:
- Artificial Sphincter - An artificial valve is inserted to control urine flow
- Sling Procedures - A mesh is surgically inserted below the bladder to support it and prevent leakage.
- Colposuspension - The bladder neck is lifted to stop urine leakage.
Urinary incontinence affects the quality of life and one's psychological wellbeing. If you have this problem, don't live in denial or isolation. Visit a urologist and explore different treatment options for urinary incontinence treatment.Share