As you age, there are several techniques for managing adult incontinence and enhancing your lifestyle so you can live life to the fullest. The following sections describe the most common approaches for incontinence management, including the use of absorbent bladder leakage products. To get the maximum benefit, speak with your healthcare provider about options that are the best fit for your lifestyle and unique symptoms.
A number of different products may be used to help those living with incontinence to remain comfortable and dry. The selection of a product should correlate with the type of incontinence. The smallest, most minimal product should be used to support and encourage continence and promote dignity and confidence. Some product options are bladder control pads, small liners and undergarments, pant liners, and protective underwear and disposable briefs. Brief sizing is critical; the better the fit, the more comfortable the wearer and the better the absorption.
Approaches for behavioral therapy include scheduling regular visits to the bathroom, practicing relaxation techniques, keeping a bladder and bowel diary, and doing Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are performed by tightening the pelvic floor muscles in a series of repetitions. These should be performed 30–80 times daily over the course of eight weeks.
If behavioral techniques and medications are not an option or are ineffective, there are also surgical options. The sling procedure is a surgical procedure commonly performed to treat stress incontinence. The sling provides support to the urethra and enables the bladder to collect and empty urine properly. Another procedure involves the use of bulking treatments, such as collagen, to thicken the area around the urethra and help control urine flow.
Medication can either cause or help incontinence, depending upon what you take and in what combination. Certain medications for unrelated health issues can sometimes irritate the bladder and trigger incontinence. You may want to discuss your mediations with your doctor if you are taking diuretics or sedatives. Other medications can be effective in treating some forms of urinary incontinence.
The prostate is a gland in males that surrounds the urethra. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate, can be a very common cause of stress incontinence. Some symptoms of BPH include increased frequency of urination, urgency, a weakened stream and incomplete bladder emptying. By age 60, 50% of men experience BPH and by age 85, 90% of men report symptoms of BPH. You should consult with your doctor about BPH. There are many surgical and pharmacological options to minimize or eliminate the symptoms.
Now that you're familiar with ways to take control of incontinence, you're ready to start a plan of action. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss the best options for your specialized needs. A confident, worry-free lifestyle is right around the corner!
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