Multiple Sclerosis and Bladder Control Problems
Behavioral Changes for Bladder Control Problems continued...
Timed voiding: Timed voiding (also called habit training) is used to treat functional incontinence. Functional incontinence occurs when something makes it hard for a person to reach or use a bathroom in time to urinate -- such as a physical disability. In timed voiding, the person follows a schedule consisting of set times to urinate. The schedule is determined by the person's own habits and does not attempt to increase the time between urinating or to teach the person to resist the urge to urinate.
Prompted voiding: Prompted voiding is also used to treat functional incontinence. It trains a caregiver to prompt the incontinent person to urinate. The intention is to decrease the chance of accidents by making the person aware of the need to urinate periodically. Prompted voiding is usually used in combination with timed voiding for people who are insufficiently aware of their bodily functions.
Kegel exercises: These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which play a role in bladder control. Your doctor can specify how to perform this exercise.
Absorbent Devices for Bladder Control Problems
Absorbent products are items that absorb urine, such as mini-shields that attach to underwear or plastic-backed diapers. Most commercially available items are disposable (such as Depends or Attends), although some people with urinary incontinence may use absorbent cloths that can be washed and reused.
Absorbent products may be used to manage any form of incontinence.
Medications for Bladder Control Problems
For many types of bladder control problems, including motor urge incontinence, medications may be prescribed if behavioral methods do not work. Drugs are often used in combination with behavioral changes.
For motor urge incontinence (uncontrollable bladder contractions that force urine out of the bladder), the following medications may be used:
- Detrol LA
- Ditropan XL
- Gelnique Gel
- Oxytrol transdermal patch
Mechanical Aids for Bladder Control Problems
Mechanical aids may be used to treat bladder control problems associated with MS. These include:
- Catheters: A thin, flexible, hollow tube (catheter) can be inserted through the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) into the bladder to drain urine. Several different types of catheters are available.
- Urethral insert: A thin, flexible solid tube can be inserted into the urethra to block the flow of leaking urine.
- External urethral barrier: A self-adhesive patch can be placed over the opening from which urine leaves the body.
Surgery for Urinary Incontinence
Surgery may be used to treat some types of urinary incontinence, but it is used only as a last resort when other treatments have failed.