Different urinary incontinence treatment options
The inability to control your urine is called urinary incontinence. This is a common problem that occurs especially in older adults. Incontinence generally affects women more than men.
While many people think this is a normal aging process, it isn’t. Moreover, many people feel embarrassed to get medical help to treat the condition, and thus don’t get any incontinence treatment.
On the contrary, it is possible to cure, or at least provide significant relief from urinary incontinence with the right treatment option.
Causes for urinary incontinence
There are various causes for urinary incontinence. While aging itself does not cause incontinence, the changes that take place in your body systems as you age make urinary incontinence a common elderly condition. Sometimes the bladder and its supporting muscles tend to sag as you old, which in turn make it difficult for your bladder to store urine.
Medications seniors take for common health conditions like high blood pressure and depression can lead to incontinence. Even a simple infection of your urinary tract, severe constipation, depression, diabetes, delirium and reduced mobility can all trigger incontinence.
Successful incontinence treatment
It is possible to successfully treat incontinence if medications like water pills and some antidepressants and medical conditions like diabetes and atrophic vaginitis are its root causes.
All that has to be done is to discontinue or change the medication and to treat the medical condition. It is not always possible to treat incontinence caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In such cases, it’s better to wear undergarments or use urinary catheters or bedpans instead.
The other available incontinence treatment options are used based on the type and cause of incontinence, and includes:
Pelvic floor or kegel exercises which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The contraction of bladder supporting muscles help improve the strength of the bladder outlet. However it is necessary to regularly and consistently do kegel exercises for it to work as an effective incontinence treatment. Results are generally seen after 6 months of starting these exercises.
Behavior or bladder training involves learning to control passing of urine over a span of a few weeks or months. While training depends on the type of incontinence you suffer from, it basically involves learning how to hold on and control your urine for longer periods before urinating, regular voiding and controlling the ‘urge to go’.
Sometimes, exercise and bladder training are used along with hypnosis or any biofeedback for an effective incontinence treatment. Though this treatment option requires more determination and commitment, its result is worth the effort.
If exercise and behavior treatment don’t work as an effective incontinence treatment, doctors offer medication to treat the condition. There are some medications that prevent bladder contractions and others that help increase your bladder capacity.
It is however not advisable to treat yourself using over-the-counter medications if you suffer from incontinence. It is always better if you first consult your doctor for advice about the right medication and incontinence treatment.
Medications used as incontinence treatment include:
Antispasmodics that can improve your bladder’s storage ability and helps reduce bladder spasms.
Estrogens are prescribed for vaginal application to women suffering from urine incontinence to improve the urogenital tract lining.
Alpha-blockers like tamsulosin helps make urine flow easy.
Bladder surgery is used to treat women suffering from severe urine incontinence.
As there are various treatment options available, it is your doctor who decides which is the best treatment option for you.
Tips that help with managing incontinence
Try to reduce the intake of foods and beverages that help increase urination or like tea, alcohol and coffee.
Try to reduce any pressure your abdomen may experience by losing some weight if you are obese.
Drink lots of fluids in a day; however do limit your fluid intake to 2-3 hours before sleeping.
Make sure you completely empty your bladder whenever you pass urine, and that you give an expert push to extract even the last few drops of urine in the bladder.
You can also use adult diapers, pads or belts as an effective incontinence treatment option. However this is not a recommended treatment option as in the long run, you tend to depend on them, and thus don’t seek the right medical treatment to treat the condition.