Urinary incontinence may not be a physically debilitating condition but it can be emotionally devastating. At Comprehensive Urology, we understand the impact it can have on your life. We talk to patients every day about incontinence issues such as an overactive bladder or urinary leakage. One of the most common questions we get is, “Which urinary incontinence treatment is right for me?”
There are many factors that go into determining which type of urinary incontinence treatment is suitable for each patient. One major factor is the type of incontinence you have:
- Stress Incontinence
- Urge Incontinence (overactive bladder)
- Overflow incontinence
- Functional Incontinence
- Mixed Incontinence (a combination of the above)
In general, though, the best way to get an answer that specifically addresses your unique situation is to consult with a board-certified urologist.
However, let’s take a look at the variety of urinary incontinence treatment options available so that you have a better understanding of what to expect before you have that consultation.
Non-Surgical Urinary Incontinence Treatment Options
Before deciding on and undergoing treatment, a diagnosis must be made to understand your medical history as well as the type and cause(s) of your incontinence.
Once the proper diagnosis is made, then the correct treatment – or combination thereof – will be discussed and determined.
Modification of Habits and Behaviors
One of the worst feelings of incontinence is the loss of control. It’s a helpless feeling that can be difficult to bear. By changing some of your habits and behaviors, you can reclaim control of an overactive bladder.
By adjusting how much fluid you ingest, you have control over the amount of urine that builds up in your bladder. Also, creating a schedule of when to go to the bathroom can help keep mild urges under control.
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
With the proper physical therapy, you can regain control over your bladder to help regulate your urges.
One of the primary goals of physical therapy is to help patients avoid incontinence surgery. To make this happen, physical therapy helps incontinence patients strengthen their pelvic floor muscles and sphincter so they can “hold it in” more easily.
Before undergoing such therapy, a biofeedback machine is often employed to measure the activity and strength of the pelvic floor muscles. This technique helps discern which areas physical therapy can address and monitor.
An office procedure to place a removable device called a vaginal pessary in the vagina is also an effective type of incontinence treatment. Made of silicone, rubber, or plastic, pessaries are inserted into the vagina or anus to support areas affected by pelvic organ prolapse by working out your muscles to hold the device in place. The devices can fortify your pelvic floor muscles.
Learn more about vaginal pessaries at WebMD.com.
Many times, urinary incontinence treatment involves medications prescribed alongside behavioral modifications.
Anticholinergic medications are effective at relaxing overactive bladder muscles, which can help you have better control. Other treatments, such as topical estrogen medications, help limit urine linkage by rejuvenating vaginal tissue.
Holistic Therapies for Incontinence
Holistic therapies offer a variety of benefits, including the fact that they treat your body as a whole instead of simply focusing on one issue, condition, or area. Some beneficial holistic therapies we suggest include the following:
Everyone loves massages, but in this case, a body massage can mitigate the physical stresses and help relax the muscles that controlling your urges.
The ancient practice of acupuncture also helps reduce incontinence symptoms by correcting imbalances in your body via stimulation of carefully selected acupuncture points.
Have you tried meditation? It can help make you stress-free and relaxed, increasing your ability to maintain control of your urge to urinate.
You can also help your cause by eating well and exercising, among other lifestyle tweaks, as well.
Incontinence surgery is often the last resort, but if nothing else works, it’s a viable option. The following surgical incontinence treatment options are effective.
A bladder neck suspension procedure reinforces the neck of your bladder so that it won’t sag and make your urges difficult to control. Recovery time is 2-6 weeks, during which time you may have to urinate using a catheter for a number of days.
Sling surgery for incontinence is also a popular choice. Using a synthetic material or your body’s own tissue, a sling is fashioned to help keep your urethra supported and closed when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Slings come in various types – tension-free slings, adjustable slings, and conventional slings. These procedures are generally done on an outpatient basis but involve 2-6 weeks of recovery.
A very effective surgical incontinence treatment involves bulking agent injections into the urethral tissue with the intent of reducing leakage. The procedure is an outpatient one. The following materials are commonly used in bulking agents:
- Silicone implant
- Carbon coated beads made of zirconium
Contact an Incontinence Specialist Today to Find Out Which Option is Right for You
If you’re dealing with incontinence issues, a variety of urinary incontinence treatment options can relieve your symptoms and give you your life back, not to mention control of your urges. To learn more about your non-surgical or surgical incontinence treatment options, contact the Los Angeles incontinence specialists at Comprehensive Urology for a consultation by visiting us online or calling 310.307.3552.