Managing your urinary incontinence doesn’t mean resigning yourself to a life of leaks. From basic behavioral changes to more clinical medical interventions, there is much to be done to help you take control over your leaks (and life).
We’ve compiled some of the most commonly Googled questions about managing UI (in all their awkward glory), in hopes of shedding light on questions that you may be asking yourself as well. Our Urogynocological Medical Advisors have answered each and every one of them. We hope you find their answers as helpful and informative as we did, but of course, please see your health care providers for the personalized care that you deserve.
Women often ask: “What to do for incontinence?”
A: There are a couple of main things you can do for incontinence that can actually attempt to cure the problem. Outside of lifestyle changes for severe incontinence, there are a variety of medical interventions one can consider in order to treat incontinence. These are different depending on the type, severity and cause of your UI. For example bladder sling surgery cures 80% of cases for the first 15 to 20 years after surgery. The surgery involves placement of a mesh sling under the urethra to support it in order to help prevent urine loss with physical activity. This procedure can take under an hour and recovery usually lasts about 4 to 6 weeks. While this procedure might be right for those with stress incontinence, it would not be right for someone with OAB. This is due to the underlying causes of these types of incontinence. Thus, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to find out exactly what type of incontinence you have, and therefore what treatments are right for you.
Women often ask: “How to deal with urinary incontinence?” or “What can help with incontinence?”
A: There are a variety of things one can do to deal with incontinence. There are three main ways to help your incontinence outside of medical intervention: pelvic floor exercises, behavioral and lifestyle changes, and use of incontinence products.
Pelvic floor therapy:
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a treatment for pelvic floor and abdominal wall issues. This modality works to improve the health of these tissues and muscles to improve many different symptoms and conditions such as incontinence. Pelvic floor therapy can help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles thus allowing the muscles to properly contract and relax for urination. Pelvic floor physical therapy also addresses the neurological and behavioral components that surround urinary incontinence.
Weight loss and eliminating bladder irritating foods can significantly improve incontinence symptoms in patients. Other behavioral changes like keeping a bladder diary, scheduling bathroom trips, and decreasing liquid consumption can also improve symptoms.
Using incontinence products:
Incontinence pads, liners and briefs are a great way to deal with urinary incontinence as it is a non-invasive way to help yourself continue to lead a normal lifestyle. Good products will absorb leaks while wicking away moisture and smell, as well as being invisible under clothing. There are a variety of different types of incontinence products one can choose depending on the severity of leaks and your body type.
Women often ask: “What foods can help with incontinence?
A: While there aren’t specific foods that can help with incontinence, there are a variety of foods and drinks that can make incontinence symptoms worse. Carbonated beverages, caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and acidic foods can all irritate the bladder and make incontinence worse. On the other hand fibrous foods like legumes and vegetables can help your incontinence symptoms as they may alleviate the constipation that can worsen incontinence. Diet and weight loss can also help alleviate the symptoms of incontinence.