One of the most important things to know if your incontinence is not due to any underlying medical problem, is that there are good options that don’t involve medications, surgery or the use of appliances inserted by doctors. The first things you want to try are listed below in order of least invasive to most invasive.
Most women have heard of kegel exercises developed by Dr. Kegel in the late 1940’s. He found that exercising the pelvic floor muscles would strengthen them and correct the loss of bladder control. Any woman can learn how to do these exercises and they can be practiced at home.
Kegels are best for minor to moderate urinary incontinence problems. These exercises were developed to be done with resistance not just by contracting the muscles alone. So there are helpful incontinence products to use to make your practice easier more effective.
There are devices available to you now that are very helpful in validating that you are doing the kegel exercises correctly and provide resistance so that your muscles get stronger faster. You also get feedback so you know how much you have improved to help you stay motivated. There are simple incontinence devices that are simple to use like vaginal weights and using resistance with the PFX2 pelvic floor exerciser or monitoring the strength of the nerve signal with the U-control.
Sometimes because of nerve damage or if it is determined that electrical stimulation of the surrounding muscles is the best option, there is biofeedback equipment that can provide that. Generally, your physician or physical therapist will assist you in the electrode placement on the appropriate muscles to minimize both stress and urge incontinence.
Timed Voiding or Bladder Training
Another technique for urine leakage is to keep a record of when you empty your bladder and when you experience a leak of urine. As you begin to see a pattern of when leakage most likely occurs you can make sure to get to a bathroom to void your bladder before you might leak. You are training you bladder to be more predictable in its functioning.
There are always medication alternatives. The problem with medications is that they are not always effective and many have undesirable side effects that makes them a choice of last resort.
Depending on how serious your condition is there are other ways your physician may choose to discuss with you. Hopefully, you will have exhausted all the other less invasive techniques before resorting to more drastic measures. One such alternative is called a pessary which must be inserted by a healthcare professional. It is a stiff ring put into the vagina, applying pressure that can alter the position of the urethra. This is supposed to cause less leakage. The problem is that this method may lead to more urinary and vaginal infections.
Another alternative, are having collagen implants thought to plump up the area around the urethra to help it close and stop urine leakage. Unfortunately, the collagen injections must be repeated as your body slowly eliminates the fibrous tissue over time.
Surgery is considered when other treatments have failed. The operation may mean re-positioning the bladder or creating a sling that will support the bladder.
Catheterization could be the solution when there has been a severe injury where the bladder cannot empty.
In conclusion, some women will decide to use undergarments like Depends before talking to their physician or instead of trying treatments that can be helpful. This can lead to a loss in self-esteem, and a lack of participation in life.