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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Urinary Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older - Home Treatment

Recurrent bladder infections in women continued...

If you are certain that your symptoms are caused by a bladder infection, follow your doctor's instructions for taking the medicine and monitoring your symptoms. Keep a diary of the number of times you use your self-treatment plan. Call your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms do not improve after 48 hours of treatment.
  • You start having bladder infections more often than in the past.

Your self-treatment plan is developed for your health needs. Do not take antibiotics that have not been specifically prescribed for this bladder infection. Do not take antibiotics left over from a previous prescription or antibiotics prescribed for someone else.

Urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is common, especially among older adults. Home treatment can often help decrease your symptoms.

  • Talk to your doctor about your incontinence at your next regularly scheduled appointment.
  • Reduce the amount of fluids you drink to no more than 2 qt (2 L) daily.
  • Establish a schedule of urinating every 2 to 4 hours, whether you feel the need or not.
  • Make a clear, quick path to the bathroom, and wear clothes that you can easily remove, such as ones with elastic waistbands or Velcro closures. Keep a bedpan or urinal close to your bed or chair.
  • Practice "double voiding" by urinating as much as possible, relaxing for a few moments, and then urinating again.
  • Do not drink caffeinated or carbonated beverages, such as caffeinated coffee, tea, and soda.
  • Do not drink more than 1 alcohol drink a day.
  • Increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Constipation may make your symptoms worse. For more information, see the topic Constipation, Age 12 and Older.
  • Talk with your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines you take, including nonprescription medicines, to see whether any of them may be making your incontinence worse.
  • Strengthen your pelvic muscles by doing Kegel exercises every day and by having a regular exercise program.
  • Control your weight. If you are overweight, try to lose some weight. Remember that effective weight-loss programs depend on a combination of diet and exercise. For more information, see the topic Weight Management.
  • Quit smoking or using other tobacco products. This may reduce the amount that you cough, which may reduce your problem with incontinence. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
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