4 Medications That Can Cause or Worsen Incontinence
Ask your doctor if you think medicines may cause your incontinence.
3. Diuretics as a Cause of Urinary Incontinence continued...
"If you need the diuretic, you need it," says Ginsberg. But he
recommends you pay more attention to the recommended incontinence treatments,
following your doctor's instructions to the letter.
That may mean paying more attention to doing your Kegel exercises, designed
to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Weakened pelvic floor muscles are often
the cause of a common type of urinary incontinence called stress incontinence,
in which small amounts of urine are leaked, especially when you cough, sneeze,
Once you learn how to do Kegel exercises correctly (ask your gynecologist or
internist for help), you can do them nearly anytime -- even while driving a car
or watching TV or sitting at your desk.
If nighttime incontinence is a problem, you might ask your doctor if you
could take the diuretic in the morning, suggests Jennifer Anger, MD, MPH, a
urologist at Santa Monica -- UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, Calif., and an
assistant professor of urology at the University of California Los Angeles'
David Geffen School of Medicine.
That way, the volume of urine would be greater in the morning and hopefully
taper off as the day goes on.
4. Sleeping Pills as a Cause of Urinary Incontinence
Only a small percent of people with incontinence have a problem with
bed-wetting, according to Anger, who estimates about 10% of patients with
incontinence wet the bed. However, sleeping pills may pose a problem for those
with incontinence at night.
"Sleeping pills can make things worse because people don't wake up [when
their bladder is full]," she says.
As an alternative, cut down on caffeine so you sleep better on your own,
"Sleeping pills are overprescribed," Appell tells WebMD. And if you
already have incontinence, it can worsen the situation. "You wake up in a
puddle," he says.
He encourages patients to look for alternatives to help them sleep. "If
someone needs a little something to help them go to sleep, an antihistamine,
like Benadryl, can be helpful," Appell says.
Paying attention to lifestyle can help, too. "Exercise so you will be
tired," Appell suggests.
Sleep will come more easily if you keep a regular bedtime and wake-up
schedule, according to the National Sleep Foundation. You can also develop a
relaxing bedtime ritual, such as reading a book or listening to soothing
How to Talk About Urinary Incontinence
Bringing up the topic of urinary problems with your doctor or your spouse is
never easy; most people are at least a bit embarrassed. But open communication
can help you find out about the causes of incontinence and whether your
medications may be contributing.
One good opener might be something like this: "I have been having
If you will be visiting a new doctor, and have not yet selected him or her,
you might seek out a doctor of the same sex, if you think that would help you
feel more comfortable. Or, you might bring up the topic first with your
Preparing for the conversation about urinary incontinence may help you feel
more in control. That means being able to answer the questions your doctor is
likely to ask, including:
- When did your urinary incontinence symptoms begin?
- Have you had urinary incontinence symptoms before?
- What medications are you on, and when did you start each of them?
You may find it easier to talk about incontinence if you acknowledge it as a
medical condition that needs treatment, just as high blood pressure, arthritis,
or high cholesterol does. Treatment
options are plentiful, and nearly everyone can be helped so that symptoms,
if they don't abate, improve.