Like it or not, urinary incontinence is a fact of
life for many people. It can happen as we get older, and for women during pregnancy or after birth, even as
the result of a persistent cough. What can you do to take
For answers, WebMD went to the American Urological Association and Craig
Comiter, MD, associate professor of urology at Stanford University School of
Medicine. Here are their tips on how to take matters into your own hands -- and
make living with urinary incontinence a lot easier.
A shopping spree in Milan, a hike in Ecuador, an island-hopping cruise. On vacation, you can escape most everyday hassles -- except incontinence. At every turn, it's unfamiliar territory. If you have an accident, what can you do?
"Everyone who has incontinence has developed some coping strategies," says Roger Dmochowski, MD, a urologist and director of the Vanderbilt Continence Center in Nashville. "They do what they need to do. It's amazing how good some people are at estimating their bladder's...
Urinary incontinence (UI) is the involuntary loss of urine and "it's a
common condition" in men and women of all ages, says the American Urological
Association. The two main types of urinary incontinence are:
Stress incontinence, which can
cause leakage when you cough, sneeze, exercise, laugh, or strain to lift
Urge incontinence, which is an
unexpected, sudden urge to urinate, one that's so strong it can be hard to
reach the bathroom in time.
No matter which type of urinary incontinence you have, simple behavioral
tips can help you deal day to day.
8 Quick Tips for Coping With Urinary Incontinence
1. Do Kegel Exercises. An important
urinary incontinence treatment,
Kegels are especially effective for women with mild symptoms, says Comiter. "I
would advocate Kegel exercises as the most commonly used initial
Kegels are simple to do: Simply clench and unclench your pelvic floor
muscles. Which muscles are those? Next time you pee, stop the stream of urine
midway. Presto! You've just found your pelvic floor muscles and done your first
But don't make a habit of stopping your urine when you pee, as it can
actually weaken muscles. Do Kegels anywhere and everywhere else, though: while
online, on hold, or in the car. Start by clenching your pelvic floor muscles
for three seconds, then release for three. Repeat ten times. As you develop
strength over time, aim to hold the muscles for ten seconds and release for
2. Stick to a Pee Schedule. Don't feel like you need to go? Head to
the bathroom anyway. Why? Timed urination helps keep the bladder empty, Comiter
tells WebMD, and "empty bladders cannot leak." It might take a little time to
discern the schedule that's best for you, but Comiter recommends starting with
a timed urination every one to two hours.
3. Fill the Void. And don't be in a hurry when you're in the
bathroom. Take your time in there and after you've finished urinating, relax a
bit and then urinate again -- this practice, called double voiding, helps
really empty the bladder.
4. Keep the Path Clear. Having accidents before you make it to the
bathroom? It's time to clear your path of obstacles so you can get there
faster. And then help yourself once you're there by wearing easy-to-release
clothes -- think elastic waistbands and Velcro closures.