The type of urinary incontinence you have will largely dictate how your doctor decides to treat or manage it. Your doctor may choose one or more incontinence solutions — including behavioral therapy, medical interventions and/or leakage management.
Behavioral Therapy for Incontinence
Many people wonder how to cure incontinence naturally. Behavioral therapy techniques (or lifestyle changes) are natural remedies that may help you control leakage. But don’t just adopt these habits and then skip going to the doctor. Medical attention is still necessary if you’re experiencing incontinence. Your doctor will need to make sure a serious medical issue isn’t causing your symptoms. Not to mention, behavioral therapy techniques won’t work for all people or all types of incontinence, so getting your doctor’s input about these therapies is a crucial first step.
- Train your bladder.
Different bladder voiding techniques may help you learn to control leakage. One method is to practice double voiding. After passing urine, you wait a few seconds and then try to pass urine again.
Another voiding technique is to urinate on a set schedule. Your doctor may recommend that you use the bathroom every three hours, for instance. It is important to attempt to urinate at your set times even if you don’t always feel the urge to go.
A third technique (which you should only try if your doctor recommends it) is deferring urination. When you feel that you need to go, you simply try to postpone urination for a few seconds or minutes. Over time, you may be able to delay urination for longer periods.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
Reduce your caffeine consumption by cutting back on soda, tea and coffee. Also, don’t consume more than one drink of alcohol a day.
- Do Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. To locate the correct muscles, try to halt urination midstream. The muscles you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles. To strengthen them, tighten and hold the muscles for a few seconds. Do this multiple times a day to improve both strength and control.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Excess weight can put extra pressure on the bladder. Over time, this extra pressure can cause muscle weakness — leading to urinary incontinence. Losing weight will help relieve the pressure and may enable you to regain control of your bladder.
Other Treatments for Incontinence
Along with behavioral therapy, medical interventions are another form of treatment for incontinence . Some people — particularly those with urge incontinence — may find that prescription medications can be effective in easing their symptoms. The medications aim to relax the bladder muscles so they don’t tighten involuntarily.
Botox® injections into the bladder can also help with urge incontinence. With this form of treatment, the bladder muscles are partially paralyzed, which prevents involuntary tightening.
Nerve stimulation is a third type of incontinence treatment. It can be helpful if you are experiencing leaks due to communication problems between the brain and bladder.
A fourth type of incontinence treatment is surgery, but this is used as a last resort. Surgeries can be performed to replace a portion of the bladder, or to remove the bladder entirely.
If your incontinence symptoms cannot be stopped and you continue to leak urine, leakage management options will be considered.
One such option — for both men and women — is a catheter, which is a hollow, flexible tube that’s inserted into the urethra and directed up into the bladder. Urine then flows out of the body through the catheter. (Catheters can be especially helpful if you have overflow incontinence.)
Depending on your situation, you may be able to use a type of catheter that you insert yourself three or five times each day. After the urine is collected, you take out the catheter and dispose of it. But in some cases, a more permanent solution is necessary. Indwelling catheters are a type of catheter that is worn at all times. Urine travels out of the body via the catheter and is stored in a bag.
A special type of catheter for men is a condom catheter. A condom catheter is an external bladder leakage product that’s worn like a condom, but at the tip of the “condom” there is a tube for urine to pass through. The tube leads to a storage bag that is typically strapped to the thigh.
For both men and women, additional incontinence products include absorbent pads and adult diapers. Penis clamps are also available for men.