Wellness Minute - Incontinence
Millions of women have sudden urine loss or stress urinary incontinence. The condition causes them to leak urine when they laugh, sneeze, cough, or during exercise.
Although so many women experience sudden urine loss, most women are not aware that it is a treatable condition. Women may suffer in silence and put off activities that they enjoy.
Urge incontinence is when the need to urinate comes on so quickly you can't make it to a toilet. It's common in men and women.
- Medication. Medications can help tighten the muscles that control urine flow or help relax the bladder itself. Your doctor may also recommend changing the medicines you take for other conditions if the medicines could be affecting bladder control.
- Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises can help strengthen the muscles that control the bladder. To do Kegel exercises, tighten the muscles you would use to stop urine flow and hold for a count of 10. Relax for a count of 10. Do this 10 to 20 times, three times a day. Men can do a similar exercise. Your doctor can help instruct you in doing this exercise.
- Physical therapy. A specially trained physical therapist can use biofeedback to develop an at-home exercise plan to strengthen the muscles within your pelvis. Biofeedback uses machines to create pictures and sounds that show how well you are controlling your pelvic muscles. It may help you learn to control those muscles better.
- Injections. Materials can be injected to bulk up the tissue around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. This can make urine less likely to escape by accident.
- Devices. Women can wear devices called pessaries, which are inserted into the vagina and help support the bladder.
- Surgery. If other treatments don't work, or if the incontinence is severe, surgery may be helpful.