What Can I do for my Urinary Incontinence?
If you suffer from occasional or regular urinary incontinence, it's time to talk to your doctor about your options. Generally, a physical therapy regimen is recommended before prescription medications, but if you're wanting a run-through before meeting with your medical specialist, here is a list of exercises and therapies you can do to make your incontinence better.
Firstly, women and men must do Kegel exercises. I know we all think that Kegel means "for women" but it's not true. Dr. Kegel discovered that if you tighten the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles used to control the flow of urine), then it tightens the muscles around the urethra and bladder giving you more control over accidents. For women, it also keeps the abdominal floor muscles tight which hold in the bladder and uterus, preventing them for prolapsing. This exercise is simple and beneficial and we write about it often because it is so effective.
If you are a woman, you can also get physical therapy where Kegels are performed for you (now, don't be lazy!) with a gentle electrode stimulation. There is also pelvic floor stimulation which can help train your abdominal and pelvic muscles to squeeze tighter when they do squeeze. These kinds of therapies involve vaginal probes and are invasive. While not necessarily uncomfortable, they should not be sought first until after you have worked Kegel exercises on your own for a while.
While you are working on building up your Kegel count, work also on being mindful of your bladder. Bladder training is a great way to keep yourself using the bathroom regularly, and so keeping hydrated, but without accidents. If you set up habits to use the bathroom, whether you think you need to or not, thirty minutes after drinking anything, and then limiting your liquid intake at night before bed, your bladder will release and your body will go. Bladder training, and other kinds of mindful thinking, are a great way to train your body and your brain at the same time.
But say that you are beyond pelvic exercises and you need serious medical intervention. For women, estrogen creams help tighten the skin of the vagina which, in turn, help tighten the urethra. Prescription medicines are available for overactive bladder and believe it or not, Botox injections into the muscles have shown effective. Women can also look into pessaries, or inflatable devices that help hold up the bladder from pressing or falling too low into the vagina, causing strain and leaks. There are some surgical methods available too.
There are external catheters for men that stream the urine externally for men who can not maintain a strong urine stream. There are also many incontinence products for men including male guards and sheaths that help prevent messes if a leak occurs.
If you are having these issues, don't suffer in silence. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to make your life better.
If you have more questions, give us a call at 855-879-2366.