Although a woman may be reluctant to engage in physical activity when she has UI, regular exercise is important for weight management and good overall health. Losing weight may improve UI and not gaining weight may prevent UI. If a woman is concerned about not having easy access to a bathroom during physical activity, she can walk indoors, like in a mall, for example. Women who are overweight should talk with their health care professional about strategies for losing weight. Being obese increases a person’s chances of developing UI and other diseases, such as diabetes. According to one study, decreasing obesity and diabetes may lessen the burden of UI, especially in women.2 More information is provided in the NIDDK health topics, Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program and Tips to Help You Get Active.
Certain medications may lead to symptoms of OAB. Diuretics can cause urge incontinence because of increased bladder filling, stimulating the detrusor. Bethanechol can also cause urge incontinence through its stimulation of bladder smooth-muscle contraction.
Men with functional incontinence may wear protective undergarments if they worry about reaching a restroom in time. These products include adult diapers or pads and are available from drugstores, stores, and medical supply stores. Men who have functional incontinence should talk to a health care professional about its cause and how to prevent or treat functional incontinence.
Your doctor may order a simple urodynamic test to assess the function of your bladder and its ability to empty steadily and completely. These tests usually require a referral to a specialist, and may not be necessary to make a diagnosis or begin treatment. Tests include:
Urge incontinence can mean that your bladder empties during sleep, after drinking a small amount of water, or when you touch water or hear it running (as when washing dishes or hearing someone else taking a shower). Certain fluids and medications such as diuretics or emotional states such as anxiety can worsen this condition. Some medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and uncontrolled diabetes, can also lead to or worsen urge incontinence.
The prevalence of OAB increases with age. However, OAB should not be considered a normal part of aging. Twenty percent of the population aged 70 years or older report symptoms of OAB; 30% of those aged 75 years or older report symptoms. Men tend to develop OAB slightly later in life than women do.
A number of medications have been proposed as possible causes of drug-induced urinary incontinence, including alpha1-adrenoceptor antagonists, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and drugs used for hormone replacement therapy.1 Since drugs are frequently metabolized and excreted in the urine, the lower urinary tract is particularly vulnerable to adverse effects. Furthermore, carcinogens or inflammatory agents in the urine are in close proximity to the epithelium for prolonged periods when they are stored in the bladder. The drugs may cause stress incontinence, urge incontinence, or overflow incontinence.2
Time voiding while urinating and bladder training are techniques that use biofeedback. In time voiding, the patient fills in a chart of voiding and leaking. From the patterns that appear in the chart, the patient can plan to empty his or her bladder before he or she would otherwise leak. Biofeedback and muscle conditioning, known as bladder training, can alter the bladder’s schedule for storing and emptying urine. These techniques are effective for urge and overflow incontinence
SUI happens when the pelvic floor muscles have stretched. Physical activity puts pressure on the bladder. Then the bladder leaks. Leaking my happen with exercise, walking, bending, lifting, or even sneezing and coughing. It can be a few drops of urine to a tablespoon or more. SUI can be mild, moderate or severe.
By looking at your bladder diary, the doctor may see a pattern and suggest making it a point to use the bathroom at regular timed intervals, a habit called timed voiding. As you gain control, you can extend the time between scheduled trips to the bathroom. Behavioral treatment also includes Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that help hold in urine.
Surgery. If the above treatments don’t provide enough relief, surgery may help. One procedure works by supporting the bladder so that it returns to its normal position. Another surgery, called a sling procedure, uses a strap of synthetic mesh or natural tissue to support the urethra, the tube that carries urine. There are also small nerve stimulators that can be implanted just beneath the skin. The nerves they stimulate control the pelvic floor area and the devices can manipulate contractions in the organs and muscles within the pelvic floor.
Bladder training is a useful way to treat both common forms of urinary incontinence. To implement this training, go to the bathroom at set times to urinate. The goal is to urinate frequently enough that it minimizes urges to void and accidents. As the bladder strengthens and accidents are less frequent, you can increase the length of time between bathroom trips. Stick to the schedule whether or not you feel the need to urinate. If your goal is visit the restroom every hour and 15 minutes, do so to help decrease your symptoms.
Electrical nerve stimulation. If behavioral and lifestyle changes and medications do not improve symptoms, a urologist may suggest electrical nerve stimulation as an option to prevent UI, urinary frequency—urination more often than normal—and other symptoms. Electrical nerve stimulation involves altering bladder reflexes using pulses of electricity. The two most common types of electrical nerve stimulation are percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation and sacral nerve stimulation.4
Kimberly-Clark Australia makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.