JUST THE FACTS TREATMENTS & OPTIONS AVAILABLE
Don’t Settle for Diapers Incontinence Can Be Treated
By Joel S. Bass, MD Board-Certified Urologist, Fellowship Trained in Female Urology
When you visit your doctor, he or she will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and you may be asked to fill out a “bladder diary” as your pattern of going to the bathroom can help the diagnosis. Your doctor may measure your bladder capacity and the amount of urine left in your bladder after urination. He or she also may perform a bladder stress test, check your urinary tract with a small light/camera called a “cystoscope,” and/or test your urine for evidence of infection, stones, or other contributing causes (a “urinalysis”).
Simple lifestyle changes can help in treating your incontinence issues. B ed pads, incontinence briefs, underwear liners, drip collectors—
several products are sold in pharmacies and supermarkets to help manage accidental urination and the loss of bladder control. But unless your caregiver determines otherwise, don’t turn to briefs and pads as a first resort to treat and manage urinary incontinence (UI). Many other treatment options are available.
Unfortunately, involuntary loss of urine is a condition many people suffer in silence, either because they are ashamed and embarrassed by their symptoms, or because they mistakenly believe UI is an inevitable and untreatable result of aging
1 IN 4 ADULTS SUFFER FROM URINARY INCONTINENCE!
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or childbirth. Te truth is, in most cases, UI is treatable.
UI severity ranges from occasionally leaking when you cough, sneeze, or work out to an urge so sudden and strong, you have an accident. It’s not just an embarrassing problem; it can become a debilitating once. If UI has stopped you enjoying life, it’s definitely time to see your doctor.
You won’t be alone, especially if you are a woman. About one-half of all women experience UI in their lifetime—pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and the anatomy of the female urinary tract can all play a part in the condition. But men can suffer from UI too. About one in five older men experience UI, and those whose urinary sphincter muscles have been weakened by prostate cancer treatment or who have an enlarged prostate are susceptible.
Once your doctor has determined which type of incontinence you have (see sidebar), a treatment or combination of treatments can be recommended. First and foremost, simple lifestyle changes can help: cut down on “diuretics” (substance that increase the need to urinate) such as coffee and tea and don’t smoke (nicotine irritates the bladder).
Some UI Treatments Your Doctor Might Recommend:
Bladder Training—Your doctor might suggest you begin using the bathroom at regularly timed intervals to “retrain” your bladder, slowly extending the time between scheduled bathroom breaks.
Kegel Exercises—The pelvic floor muscles that help “hold it in”—the “Kegel muscles”—can be strengthened with special exercises. Tis is a simple and quite effective treatment for stress incontinence.
Medications—Your doctor might prescribe an anticholinergic, especially for an overactive bladder or urge incontinence. Topical estrogen can rejuvenate tissues
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