- Go to the bathroom often during the day to avoid accidents
People with overflow incontinence may feel that they never completely empty
their bladder. If you have overflow incontinence, you may:
- Often lose
small amounts of urine during the day and night
- Get up often during
the night to go to the bathroom
- Often feel as if you have to empty
your bladder but can't
- Pass only a small amount of urine but feel as
if your bladder is still partly full
- Spend a long time at the toilet,
but produce only a weak, dribbling stream of urine
people with overflow incontinence do not have the feeling of fullness, but they
lose urine day and night.
Finding the Cause of Urinary Incontinence
Once you tell your health care
provider about the problem, finding the cause of your urinary incontinence is
the next step.
Your health care provider will talk with you about your
medical history and urinary habits. You may be asked to keep a record of your
usual habits in a bladder record (see Sample Bladder Record at end of booklet). You probably will have a physical
examination and urine tests. You may have other tests, as well. These tests
will help find the exact cause of your incontinence and the best treatment for
you. The table at the end of this
booklet (Common Tests Used to Diagnose Urinary Incontinence) lists some of the tests you may be asked to take.
Treating Urinary Incontinence
Once the type and
cause of your urinary incontinence are known, treatment can begin. Urinary
incontinence is treated in one or more of three ways: behavioral techniques,
medication, and surgery.
Behavioral techniques teach you ways to control your own bladder
and sphincter muscles (see drawing at beginning of booklet). They are very
simple and work well for certain types of urinary incontinence. Two types of
behavioral techniques are commonly used --
bladder training and
pelvic muscle exercises. You may also be asked to change the amount of
liquid that you drink. You may be asked to drink more or less water depending
on your bladder problem.
Bladder training is used for urge
incontinence, and may also be used for stress incontinence. Both men and women
can benefit from bladder training. People learn different ways to control the
urge to urinate. Distraction (thinking about other things) is just one example.
A technique called prompted voiding -- urinating on a schedule -- is also used.
This technique has been quite successful in controlling incontinence in nursing
Pelvic muscle exercises called Kegel exercises
are used for stress incontinence. The Kegel exercises help to strengthen weak
muscles around the bladder.
Some people need to take medicine to treat conditions that cause
urinary incontinence. The most common types of medicine treat infection,
replace hormones, stop abnormal bladder muscle contractions, or tighten
sphincter muscles. Your health care provider may recommend medication for your
condition. You will be taught how and when to take it.
Surgery is sometimes needed to help treat
the cause of incontinence. Surgery can be used to:
- Return the bladder
neck to its proper position in women with stress incontinence
tissue that is causing a blockage
- Correct severely weakened pelvic
- Enlarge a small bladder to hold more urine