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Bladder Control Problems

Management

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Updated September 05, 2006

Besides bladder control training, there are several other ways to help manage incontinence:

  • Sometimes doctors suggest a small, throwaway patch; a small, tampon-like urethral plug; or a vaginal insert called a pessary for women with stress incontinence.

  • A doctor can prescribe medicines to treat incontinence. Some drugs prevent unwanted bladder contractions. Some relax muscles, helping the bladder to empty more fully during urination. Others tighten muscles in the bladder and urethra to cut down leakage. These drugs can sometimes cause side effects such as dry mouth, eye problems, or urine buildup. Vaginal estrogen may be helpful in women after menopause. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and side effects of using any of these medicines for a long time.

  • A doctor can inject an implant into the area around the urethra. The implant adds bulk. This helps close the urethra to reduce stress incontinence. Injections may have to be repeated after a time because your body slowly gets rid of these substances.

  • Sometimes surgery can improve or cure incontinence if it is caused by a problem such as a change in the position of the bladder or blockage due to an enlarged prostate. Common surgery for stress incontinence involves pulling the bladder up and securing it. When stress incontinence is serious, the surgeon may use a wide sling. This holds up the bladder and narrows the urethra to prevent leakage.

  • You can now buy special absorbent underclothing. It is not bulky and can be worn easily under everyday clothing.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence, tell your doctor. Remember, under a doctor’s care, incontinence can be treated and often cured. Even if treatment is not fully successful, careful managing can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable.

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