Involuntary leakage of urine can be very stressful. It means that you will be urinating when you don't want to. Urinary incontinence is an indication that your control over the urinary sphincter is weakened or lost. If you have this problem, it will cause immense psychological distress. However, this condition is treatable or manageable.
Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence
As noted in an article by Mayo Clinic, up to one-third of people in the US experience urinary incontinence. Treatment of involuntary leakage of urine depends on three factors:
- Type of incontinence
- Underlying cause
The doctor will collect your history data and conduct several physical exams. They will then recommend various lab tests, such as urinalysis, a bladder diary, and postvoid residual measurement.
Based on the information collected, the urologist will then recommend one or a combination of the following treatment options:
1. Kegel Exercises
These exercises are also known as pelvic floor exercises. As highlighted by medlineplus.gov, kegel exercises help make the muscles under the bladder stronger. Precisely, the exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor and the urinary sphincter muscles. The two muscles play a significant role in urination control.
2. Lifestyle Changes
If symptoms are less severe, the doctor may recommend lifestyle changes. This intervention works alongside other treatment options. In most instances, urologists recommend the following:
- Reducing daily fluid intake
- Weight loss
- Reducing caffeine intake
3. Bladder Training
Even before the doctor prescribes any drug, they may recommend bladder retraining. As highlighted in a study by the University of California, San Francisco, bladder training is a behavioral therapy whose goal is to increase the time between fluid intake and the bladder's emptying. It mainly takes three forms:
- Toilet Timetable- The technique involves setting specific urination times, for instance, after every three hours.
- Delaying the Event- When there is a strong urge to urinate, the patient holds it and controls the urge.
- Double Voiding- The training entails urinating, pausing for a few minutes, and then resuming.
When bladder training and lifestyle changes don't work, medication is an option. However, the doctor will prescribe drugs alongside behavioral treatment. The common drugs include:
- Alpha-Blockers- The medication works by relaxing the bladder neck muscles and prostate fibers, making it easier to empty the bladder.
- Anticholinergics- This class of drugs calms down the overactive bladder.
- Mirabegron- This medication treats urinary incontinence by relaxing bladder muscles, enabling it to hold more urine.
In most cases, urine incontinence is managed by these three types of medication. In case of severe incontinence, surgery is recommended. Based on the nature of your problem, a urologist may perform a sling procedure or insert an artificial sphincter.
Stress incontinence can cause significant psychological morbidity. If you have a urinary incontinence problem, visit a specialist for examination and treatment recommendations. With proper medical and behavioral treatment, the condition can be managed.