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 doctors 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.