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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Tips to Help You Manage Urinary Incontinence

A Bathroom Schedule

"You can't leak if your bladder is empty," says Craig Comiter, MD, professor of urology at Stanford University School of Medicine. "Urinate before you have the urge, so you don't have an accident. If you know you get the urge every 3 hours, go every 2 1/2 hours."

If you have to go too often, try to extend the amount of time between visits. Combine this practice, called bladder training, with pelvic floor exercises for better success.

"Go every two hours this week, 2 1/4 hours next week," Comiter says. "You only know you waited too long when you have an accident, so this is a home strategy."

Wearable Devices

Placing a support in the vagina may help prevent leaks. Your doctor might fit you with a soft silicone device called a pessary. Or she might suggest you use a tampon to reduce leaks.

"We often recommend tampons for women who just leak when they go running," Wakamatsu says. "You don't want to wear a tampon all the time, but it's convenient for an activity like this."

Remember, you should use no more than 2 tampons a day and change your tampon every 6 hours to prevent toxic shock syndrome.

Weight Loss

Extra weight can lead to leaks because it puts pressure on the bladder or the urethra, the tube leading from the bladder.

"This is mostly related to stress incontinence and leaks from coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting," Griebling says. "Studies have shown that women who are heavier tend to have more problems, and weight loss sometimes can help."

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Reviewed on August 26, 2015

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