What are natural treatments for urinary incontinence in women?

Jill Rabin
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

There are many natural treatments available for urinary incontinence in women. Your symptoms can be greatly alleviated through a multifaceted approach. Physical therapy is a noninvasive approach to incontinence. Regular checkups with your healthcare provider or physical therapist will ensure that you are on the right track and will allow for any needed adjustments to your individual pelvic floor muscle exercise program.  Behavioral approaches and natural treatments for urinary incontinence in women have virtually no adverse effects and are relatively inexpensive. It is essential to schedule your follow-up visits with your physical therapist, doctor, or other healthcare provider to monitor your progress and help cheer you on.   Behavioral therapy focuses on retraining your bladder to be controlled by your brain, a "mind over bladder" approach.  A bladder diary is very helpful to keep over a 24-hour period so that you can see for yourself how often you are voiding or going to urinate.  Monitoring your fluid intake is also very helpful.  It is also helpful to note your activity level when you have leakage so that you can be aware of your symptoms. Training your bladder is also known as timed voiding.  This helps you to reestablish a healthy voiding pattern by gradually increasing the amount of time in between your average voids to a target of every 2-4 hours.  For instance, if your voiding pattern is every hour, the goal would be to stretch it gradually (approximately 5-10 minutes per week or every 2 weeks until you are able to void at least every 2 to every 3 hours while awake).  This type of biofeedback technique can change your bladder schedule for storing or emptying urine. You can use diversion techniques to focus on another activity or area of your body if you are attempting to stretch your voiding intervals.  Concentrate on deep breathing rather than on your bladder.  Continue to do so until the urge to void diminishes.  Kegel exercises or pelvic floor muscle exercises are also excellent to strengthen your pelvic floor, urethral sphincter, reduce stress incontinence, and quiet those unwanted bladder contractions (otherwise known as urge incontinence.

Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

There are numerous natural treatments of urinary incontinence.  The most common natural treatment of urinary incontinence is Kegel exercises in which patients tighten the pelvic floor muscles, and this strengthens the muscles around the urethra and helps decrease the leakage of urine with coughing and sneezing.  Other patients will use times voiding patterns in which they urinate on the hour or every 2 hours to help decrease the chances of their bladder becoming overly full.  There are a significant amount of patients with bladder spasms - urgency incontinence - that can change their diet, which will help decrease their bladder spasms.  Caffeine and carbonated drinks are the most common culprit that cause bladder spasms, and decreasing this in your diet can definitely decrease the amount of accidents that a woman has on a daily basis.  There are patients who use estrogen hormone replacement therapy in the vagina to help strengthen the urethra and help decrease leakage as well as some patients have learned that taking a magnesium supplement can help decrease the amount of bladder spasms they have on a day to day basis. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.