Management Options

There are three major types of intervention for urinary incontinence: Behavioral Changes, Medication and Surgery.  Seeking consultation and treatment through a qualified specialist may lead to an improvement in up to 80% of cases. Unfortunately, only one out of every twelve persons dealing with incontinence seeks help due to embarrassment or feelings of hopelessness.

Behavioral Measures

Dietary and Fluid Modifications - Ensure adequate fluid intake and limit bladder irritants. Click on Substances that Contribute to Incontinence for more information.

Prompted Voiding (Toileting) - Individual is prompted to toilet by caregivers every 2 to 4 hours to prevent an incontinence episode. This is a good method to promote continence in frail elders and those living with Alzheimer's and similar conditions.

Habit Training - Individual plans toileting around their usual times of need to prevent incontinence.  This is a good method to prevent Overflow Incontinence.

Bladder Retraining - Individual is taught to resist the urge to void and to lengthen the time between voids. This is a good method to manage mixed or urge incontinence.

Pelvic Floor Exercises (PFE) - Individual practices exercises to tighten the pelvic floor muscles which are located in the base of the pelvis between the pubic bone and the tailbone.  Done properly these exercises, also known as Kegel Exercises, will help to improve, regain or maintain bladder control. Learning to achieve the best effect of exercises can be aided by biofeedback. PME is a good method to limit urge and stress incontinence.

Medication Intervention

Medications may be prescribed by a Physician or a Nurse Practitioner to treat certain incontinence symptoms.  In some situations, a physician may consider changing a medication that a person is on due to the side effect of incontinence.  Let your Health Care Provider know of any concerns. Never discontinue medication without the advice of your physician.
 

Surgical Intervention

Non-surgical treatments should be explored prior to surgery.  There are many different types of surgery depending upon the type, cause and degree of bother of one's incontinence. Procedures include bladder neck suspension, sling procedures, collagen bulking injections around the urethra, implanted nerve stimulators and urinary sphincter repairs.
 

Information Resources

National Association for Continence:  www.nafc.org
Simon Foundation for Continence: www.simonfoundation.org