Treatment Options for Urinary Incontinence
The best treatment for you will depend on the type of incontinence you have. Your symptoms, age and any underlying problems that are found also affect your treatment. Treatments you receive from DuPage Medical Group Urology or Physical Therapy may include pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises (kegels), biofeedback, pelvic floor muscle stimulation, behavioral and lifestyle changes, bladder retraining, medication, special devices (pessaries) or surgery.
You may be instructed in a general exercise program or you may be referred to a women’s health physical therapist to learn specific exercises that are appropriate for you. These exercises tone and strengthen your pelvic muscles and can be very effective in controlling your urine leakage. These exercises strengthen the muscles that surround the opening of the urethra, vagina, and rectum. Biofeedback is sometimes used to help retrain your pelvic floor muscles. If you have a significant amount of weakness you may be appropriate for pelvic floor muscle stimulation.
- Quitting smoking. Smoking can lead to a chronic cough that strains the pelvic floor muscles.
- Smoking may also damage the bladder and urethra.
- Losing weight. Excess weight puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder and pelvic contents.
- Making certain dietary changes. Some foods and fluids may irritate your bladder. You will learn what your bladder irritants are and how to avoid them.
- Learning how to lift properly. Heavy lifting can increase pressure in the abdominal cavity and on the bladder.
- Learning how to lift properly can protect your internal organs and decrease your urine leakage.
You will be taught about normal and abnormal voiding patterns and may be told to void at set times. You will also be taught urge control techniques, why leakage occurs and how to avoid it.
In some cases medication can help improve or relieve incontinence. Medication is mainly given for urge incontinence.
Your doctor may recommend a pessary for you. A pessary is a device that is inserted into the vagina to help support the pelvic organs. It can also help prevent leakage.
In some cases of incontinence, surgery may be appropriate. You and your doctor will need to decide if surgery is the right option for you and if it is what type will best suit your needs.