Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments, depending on the type, severity, and cause of your urinary incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB):Behavioral techniques
can help you strengthen the muscles around your bladder and help you recognize when you may be at risk of leaking, so you can prevent or avoid an accident.
- Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder and urethra.
- Biofeedback shows you what's happening inside your body so you can learn to control your muscles in order to prevent leaks.
- Bladder training helps you avoid accidents by teaching you to recognize when to go to the bathroom. You'll start by charting when you void and leak -- this will help identify triggers or patterns. Using that information, you can plan bathroom breaks ahead of when you would otherwise leak.
Medication can help treat some types of incontinence and overactive bladder. However, some of the drugs may cause side effects, such as dry mouth, eye problems, headache, abdominal pain, constipation, or urine buildup. If your doctor recommends medication, ask about the side effects and whether there are any drugs you shouldn't be taking at the same time.
Pessaries can be helpful when pelvic muscles are lax. A pessary is a device that, when inserted into the vagina, can ease stress incontinence by supporting the pelvic organs.
Catheters are often used to reduce overflow incontinence. A catheter is a soft tube that you insert through the urethra into the bladder to drain urine. It can be used temporarily, just when you need it, or it can be used constantly, in which case the tube connects to a bag that you can attach to your leg. If you experience pain or burning while using a catheter, tell your doctor. It could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
Electrical stimulation of the pelvic muscles can help exercise them and make them stronger. Brief pulses of electrical stimulation may also stabilize overactive muscles.
Surgery is usually considered a last resort after all other treatments have been tried. But in some cases, when incontinence is caused by a bladder that has moved out of place, surgery may be the best option. The most common surgeries for incontinence involve lifting and supporting the bladder -- either with sutures, tape, or a sling -- closer to its original position.
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