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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

Functional Incontinence

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Diagnosis and Treatment of Functional Incontinence continued...

Treatment also requires addressing factors in the environment to improve accessibility.

If you suffer from functional incontinence, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of accidents. At home, make sure your bathroom is accessible and the route from your bathroom is uncluttered, which could help you avoid delays or falls. When out and about, know where the restrooms are, so you will not have to take time to ask directions or locate one when you need to go. Wear clothing that is easy to remove. For example, if arthritis in your fingers makes it difficult to work zippers, wear pants with elastic waists. If you have trouble transferring from a wheelchair to toilet, try to have someone with you who can help.

Often, simple behavioral treatments that help other forms of incontinence can be helpful in reducing accidents caused by functional incontinence. These treatments include:

Bladder training: This technique involves scheduling the amount of time between bathroom trips. You'll initially start by going every two hours. If you feel the need to go between trips, you should stand or sit still, contract the pelvic muscles, and concentrate on making the urge to urinate go away. Once the urge is under control, you can go to the bathroom and urinate. After you have stayed dry for two days, you should slowly increase intervals until you are able to go three to four hours without using the bathroom.

Pelvic muscle exercises: Pelvic muscle exercises, also called Kegel exercises, strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and urethra to prevent leakage. To do Kegel exercises you should focus on isolating your pelvic muscles, so that contractions are in these muscles. To learn how to do Kegel exercises, go to the bathroom and urinate. Halfway through, try to stop the stream of urine. This will help you identify the muscles you need to contract. Once you identify the muscles, do not practice while urinating. Do the exercises for about five minutes at a time as you go about your day. After a few weeks to a month you should start to notice some improvement. Practicing Kegel exercises may be helpful in preventing accidents as you try to get to the bathroom.

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