Before pharmaceutical or surgical possibilities are considered for incontinence sufferers, non-invasive therapy for bladder control is usually tried. Therapy can involve retraining bladders, performing bladder control exercise to tone and strengthen the bladder, or the use of various bladder control products. Therapies may be used in combination.
Bladder Control Exercise Therapies
Exercises to strengthen bladders and surrounding muscles are fundamental therapies for bladder control problems. Here are some of the different types of bladder control exercises:
Kegel Exercises: Originally designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles of childbearing women, Kegel exercises are a common form of bladder control exercise. It should be noted that Kegel exercises do not directly exercise bladder muscles. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles these exercises help prevent the bladder from pushing down on the urethra, a common cause of stress incontinence.
Both men and women can perform Kegel exercises. The key to success is learning to correctly identify the muscles that need to be tensed, and the exercises must be performed consistently to be of use. A number of bladder control products on the market can teach you how to perform Kegels.
Biofeedback: To strengthen the sphincter and bladder muscles, you have to learn which muscles to tighten. Biofeedback can teach you to recognize these muscle groups. Electrodes detect which muscles you tighten, and transmit that information onto a screen. That way, with a little help from the therapist, you can learn exactly which muscles to tense, and what it feels like. Like Kegels, the muscle tensing you learn in biofeedback can be seen as a fitness program for your bladder to be effective, you have to “work out ” regularly.
Electrical and Magnetic Stimulation: Electrical stimulation of pelvic floor muscles can be used for both stress incontinence and urge incontinence. This treatment has to be conducted by a physiotherapist over several months. Although the therapy can be very successful for some women, its benefits have not been fully established yet.
Magnetic stimulation is still fairly new and involves stimulating the pelvic floor muscles. One type, in particular, mimics Kegel exercise. Clearly, magnetic stimulation is the less invasive option.
Potential side effects, the duration of treatment and displacement for visits to the therapist are the main disadvantages of these treatments.
Behavioral Therapies: Retraining Bladders
Bladder training involves learning to void the bladder on a preset schedule, rather than waiting for the urge to urinate. By sticking to the schedule, you prevent the urine buildup that may aggravate incontinence. This system helps treat bedwetting (or nocturnal enuresis) and overflow incontinence (when the level of urine rises in the bladder, but the bladder fails to signal this until it ‘s too late). While retraining bladders, the use of bladder control products such as protective undergarments can help manage the consequences of unintended urination.
Wetting the Bed
Bedwetting causes thousands of children emotional distress and unwarranted shame, and leaves many parents desperate for a solution. While most children under the age of five grow out of wetting the bed, many older children need help to overcome bedwetting.
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