Management Options for Incontinence

Management Options for Incontinence

The information found on this page should not replace the direction provided by a medical professional. However, we advocate the following self-care non-invasive habits to assist with reducing the prevalence for adult incontinence:

  • Kegel Exercises – These exercises are pelvic floor muscle exercises that were developed by a doctor. They are helpful to control most bladder urges and strengthen your bladder muscles. Here is how to do them:
    • Tighten the pelvic muscles that you use to prevent gas escaping. Continue tightening the muscles going to the front of the pelvic area. As you tighten, draw them up and in so that the entire pelvic muscle floor is contracted. Hold for a count of 10 (long Kegels). Release and then do it again. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
    • Also practice short Kegels, contracting and relaxing quickly for 10 seconds, 5 to 10 times.
    • Do these exercises morning, afternoon, and night
    • Do not tighten the muscles of the abdomen or thighs while doing these.
    • Check to see if you are doing them correctly. Stop the flow of urine when on the toilet or feel the muscles directly to see if you are tightening. When you sneeze, cough, lift, or laugh, or if you have a sudden urge to urinate, do a Kegel exercise to prevent leakage.
  • Bladder Self-Care
    • Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily especially before 7pm. It is recommended that you avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
    • Keep regular bowel habits. Constipation can increase bladder problems.
    • Keep weight at regular levels because excess weight can affect ability to maintain bladder control.
    • Keep physically active so as to exercise the muscles that support the bladder. Kegel exercises, if done correctly, can help improve bladder control.
    • Regular trips to the bathroom, about every 2-4 hours, can be helpful. Avoid toilet trips more often than every 2 hours.
    • Make sure to empty the bladder completely.
    • If you have a strong urge to urinate, do a Kegel exercise. When the perineal muscles are tightened, the bladder tends to relax, and the urge subsides, thus increasing the time between each toileting.
  • Bladder Retraining - Discuss this technique with your doctor as they may want you to keep a diary that records every time you have the urge to go to the restroom and any time you may leak.
    • Determine how often you're going to the bathroom based on your diary entries. Then add about 15 minutes to that time. For example, if you're going to the bathroom every hour, schedule bathroom visits at every one hour, 15 minutes. Use the bathroom at each scheduled visit, regardless of whether you actually feel the urge to go. Gradually increase the amount of time between bathroom breaks.
    • When you feel the urge to urinate, hold it for another five minutes or so. Then gradually increase the amount of time by 10 minutes, until you can last for at least three to four hours without having to go to the bathroom. If you're feeling a strong need to go, try distracting yourself by counting backwards from 100 to one or practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing. When you just can't hold it any longer, use the bathroom, but go again at your next scheduled void time to stay on your bladder retraining schedule.
    • Tips for retraining your bladder include limiting your intake of caffeinated drinks like sodas, coffee, and tea.
    • Go to the bathroom before you go to bed at night and as soon as you get up in the morning.
  • Foods that encourage incontinence
    • Alcoholic beverages have a direct effect on the bladder, acts as a diuretic, and causes dehydration.
    • Caffeine stimulates the bladder and also works as a diuretic.
    • Spicy foods can irritate the lining of the bladder.
    • Acidic foods such as fruit juices tend to irritate the bladder.
    • Carbonated beverages can irritate a sensitive bladder.