There are many different surgical procedures that may be used to treat
incontinence. The type of operation you may need depends on the type and cause
of your incontinence. Your doctor will discuss the specific procedure you
Be sure to ask questions so that you fully
understand the procedure.
Other Measures and Supportive Devices
Some other products can be
used to help manage incontinence. These include pads and catheters. Catheters
are used when a person cannot urinate. A catheter is a tube that is placed in
the bladder to drain urine into a bag outside the body. The catheter usually is
left inside the bladder, but some catheters are not left in. They are put in
and taken out of the bladder as needed to empty it every few hours. Condom
catheters (mostly used in men) attach to the outside of the body and are not
placed directly in the bladder. Specially designed pads are available to help
men and women with incontinence.
Catheters and pads are not
the first and only treatment for incontinence. They should only be used to make
other treatments more effective or when other treatments have failed.
What To Do Next
care provider will tell you about the type of incontinence you have and will
recommend a treatment. While you are being treated, be sure to:
- Follow instructions
- Take all of your medicine
- Report side effects of your medicine, if any
- Report any
changes, good and bad, to your health care provider
...and remember, incontinence is not a natural part of aging. In most cases,
it can be successfully treated and reversed.
Risks and Benefits of Treatment
Three types of
treatment are recommended for urinary incontinence:
How well each
of these treatments works depends on the cause of the incontinence and, in some
cases, patient effort. The risks and benefits described below are based on
current medical knowledge and expert opinion. How well a treatment works may
also depend on the individual patient. A treatment that works for one patient
may not be as effective for another patient. Therefore, it is important to talk
with a health care provider about treatment choices.
techniques.There are no risks for this type of treatment.
Medicine. As with most drugs, there is a risk of having a side effect. If
you are taking medicine for other conditions, the drugs could react with each
other. Therefore, it is important to work with the health care provider and
report all of your medicines and any side effects as soon as they happen.
Surgery. With any surgery there is a possibility of a risk or
complication. It is important to discuss these risks with your surgeon.
Coping with Incontinence
national organizations help people with urinary incontinence. They may be able
to put you in touch with local groups that can give you more information,
ideas, and emotional support in coping with urinary incontinence.
- Alliance for Aging Research (information on bladder training program)
- 2021 K Street, N.W.
- Suite 305
- Washington, DC 20006
- (202) 293-2856