How to deal with urinary incontinence?

There are three main methods for how to deal with urinary incontinence, which are:

  • Coping.
  • Prevention.
  • Treatment.

Coping. Involuntary loss of urine is an understandably embarrassing condition that can lead to some very awkward situations. As a result, you may feel ashamed to let others know about it, even your personal doctor. While it is always better to seek help, you have a right to your privacy and if you want to keep your problem a secret that’s your prerogative. In fact, there are many products that can help you contain incontinence episodes so that no one is the wiser. Such products include:

  • Underpads.
  • Mattress protectors.
  • Bedwetting alarms.
  • Adult undergarments.
  • Adult briefs.
  • Adult diapers.
  • Absorbent pads.
  • Pant liners.
  • Urinals and bed pans.

Prevention. Even though these products are very helpful, they only deal with the consequences of urinary incontinence but don’t address the root cause of the problem. One way to go about that is to try and nip it in the bud, and no, that doesn’t mean getting a circumcision or anything along those lines. Prevention is more about lessening the impact of the risk factors that can lead to episodes of incontinences. Some risk factors are unavoidable, like gender and age; all you can do about them is to be aware that other than small children and elderly adults, women are to experience stress incontinence, while men who have prostate gland problems are at a higher risk or urge and overflow incontinence.

Conversely, other risk factors may be neutralized with simple lifestyle changes. For example, obesity can exert pressure on the bladder and allow urine to escape when coughing or sneezing. Smoking can also lead to coughing that can cause an episode of stress incontinence. Therefore, urinary incontinence may be prevented by keeping a healthy weight and not smoking or quitting if you do. Other preventative measures are:

  • Kegel exercises.
  • Avoiding bladder irritants.
  • Eating more fiber.
  • Exercising.

Treatment. You should see a doctor if incontinence persists or becomes worse. The doctor will establish a diagnosis with the aid of several tools, such as asking you to keep a bladder diary for a few days recording how much you drink and urinate, amount of urine produced, and so on and so forth. The physician may run other tests, such as:

  • Urinalysis.
  • Stress test.
  • Urodynamic testing.
  • Cystogram.
  • Cystoscopy.

Depending on the diagnosis, there are several treatment options for how to deal with urinary incontinence.

 Behavioral techniques

Bladder training

Scheduled toilet trips

Fluid and diet management

Delaying urination. Starting with 10 minutes after feeling the urge until patient is urinating every 2-4 hours.

Double voiding. Urinating once, waiting a couple of minutes and then urinating again to learn to empty bladder more thoroughly and prevent overflow incontinence.

Emptying the bladder on a pre-determined scheduled (generally every 2-4 hours) as opposed to when the patient feels the urge to do so. For instance, if you feel the urge at 2:50 but your next trip is scheduled at 3.00, you hold it in for 10 minutes before going.

Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine in particular, and decreasing liquid intake in general, especially during the evening.

 Physical therapy

 Pelvic floor muscle exercises

 Electrical stimulation

Also known as Kegel exercises; they can be done by both men and women. The goal is to squeeze the muscles used to stop urine flow in order to strengthen the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. You may need to do them in front of the mirror or work with a physical therapist to make sure you’re contracting the correct muscles.

Electrodes are temporarily inserted into the rectum or vagina to stimulate pelvic floor muscles. May be effective for stress and urge incontinence but usually takes many months and several sessions before results are noticeable.



Topical estrogen



Soothe uncontrollable bladders to prevent urge incontinence. Side effects include dry mouth, constipation, blurry vision, and flushing. Examples of anticholinergics:

·         Ditropan

·         Detrol

·         Enablex

·         Toviaz

·         Vesicare

·         Sanctura

Low-dose vaginal cream, ring or patch that help tone and replenish urethral and vaginal tissue.

Tricyclic antidepressant used in the treatment of mixed incontinence.

Antidepressant occasionally used for stress incontinence.

 Medical devices

Urethral insert



A small, disposable device resembling a tampon is inserted into the urethra to plug leakage. Typically used during a specific activity but may be worn around the clock.

Stiff ring inserted in the vagina to wear all day, it holds up the bladder to prevent leakage.

A tube, which is connected to a collection bag, is inserted into the urethra to drain the bladder.

 Interventional therapies

Bulking material injections

Botulinum toxin type A

Nerve stimulators

Carbon-coated zirconium beads, calcium hydroxylapatite or polydimethylsiloxane are injected into the tissue that surrounds that urethra to keep it closed and decrease leakage.

Research has suggested that this may be an effective treatment for overactive bladder but has yet to be approved by the FDA for that purpose.

A subcutaneous implant that stimulates the sacral nerve and can help control bladder function.


Sling procedures

Bladder neck suspension

Artificial urinary sphincter

Natural tissue or a synthetic material is used to create a pelvic sling around the bladder neck and urethra. It helps keep the urethra closed, especially when coughing or sneezing.

Provides support to the urethra and bladder neck.

A device implanted around the bladder neck that can be inflated and deflated with a subcutaneous valve to stop and allow urine flow.