Behavioral Treatments for Urge Incontinence continued...
With bladder training, you "stretch out" the intervals at which you go to the bathroom. You do this by waiting a little longer before you go. For instance, to start, you can plan to go to the bathroom once an hour. You follow this pattern for a period of time, and then you change the schedule so that you are going to the bathroom every 90 minutes. Then eventually, you lengthen the interval to every two hours, and so on, until you are up to three or four hours between bathroom visits.
- Kegel exercises: Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor exercises, help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels. By strengthening these muscles, you can reduce or prevent problems such as leaking urine.
To do Kegel exercises, pretend you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor. While doing these exercises, try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles. In fact, no one should be able to tell that you are doing Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises should be done every day, five sets a day. Each time you contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a slow count of five and then relax. Repeat this 10 times for one set of Kegels.
- Weighted cones: Another technique that can strengthen the pelvis and bladder muscles is the use of weighted cones. You insert the tampon-shaped cone into the vagina and hold it there by contracting your pelvic muscles. As you do this exercise and these muscles strengthen, the weight of the cone is gradually increased. This will improve your ability to hold urine until you get to a bathroom.
Other behavioral tips for preventing urge incontinence include:
- going to the bathroom on a regular basis, especially before physical activity
- avoiding drinking caffeine or a lot of fluids before activities
- not drinking any fluids right before you go to bed
- avoiding lifting heavy objects
Medical and Surgical Treatments for Urge Incontinence
If behavioral modifications such as timed voiding and bladder training do not improve the symptoms of urge incontinence, your doctor may decide to try various medical or surgical treatments. These methods have the same goal -- relief of the symptoms and inconvenience of urge incontinence.
Medical treatments for urge incontinence include:
- Medications: There are several medications that are used to treat urge incontinence.
Oxybutynin (Ditropan, Ditropan XL, Gelnique, Oxytrol)
Tolterodine (Detrol, Detrol LA)
Oxytrol for women is the only drug available over the counter.
Your health care provider may also recommend other medications that may help control bladder spasms such as hyoscyamine (Anaspaz, Cystospaz, Hyosol, Hyospaz, Levbid, Levsin) or dicyclomine (Antispas, Bentyl, Byclomine, Di-Spaz, Dibent, Or-Tyl, Spasmoject).