Stress Incontinence Treatments

Fortunately, many treatments are available for stress incontinence. Treatments vary widely: a good number of non-invasive treatments exist, as well as a wide variety of incontinence products, estrogen therapy and a range of urinary stress incontinence surgeries. Treatment of stress incontinence usually starts with the least invasive options. Surgery is generally held as a last resort, and is not necessary in many cases.

Non-Invasive Treatments

Treatment of stress incontinence usually starts with exercises intended to tone the pelvic muscles and retrain the bladder. Kegel exercises are often used to increase muscle tone. As you urinate, try to stop urine flow by contracting the pelvic muscles. Do this until you recognize the muscle groups responsible for controlling urination.

Once you recognize the feeling, perform the muscle contractions without urinating. Try to work up to 40 to 60 contractions at a time. If you don’t think you’re doing them correctly, consult with your doctor. Some incontinence products on the market help teach Kegel exercises.

Kegels strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which help hold the bladder in its proper place. Biofeedback has also been shown to be effective in helping to strengthen the urinary sphincter and bladder muscles.

Incontinence Products

A variety of incontinence products are available in drugstores or on the Internet. Protective, absorbent garments may help you feel more at ease in public. Protective wear is specifically tailored to fit men or women, and comes in a variety of styles, depending on the severity of the incontinence.

Other incontinence products include mattress covers, chair pads, odor elimination sprays, skin care products and swimming garments. For patients who cannot tolerate protective garments, the insertion of a catheter may be a viable solution. Check with your health care provider about these products.

Estrogen and Drug Therapy

Treatment of stress incontinence in postmenopausal women may include estrogen therapy. Estrogen strengthens the tone of the urethral muscles, allowing better bladder control. Depending on the woman’s medical history, hormone replacement therapy that includes estrogen may be considered.

Non-hormonal medications are also available. While these medications come in varying forms, most work by increasing the tone of the urethral sphincter, helping prevent urinary leakage. Consult with your doctor to see whether medication might help with your particular type of stress incontinence.

Urinary Stress Incontinence Surgeries

Surgery, of course, is the last option considered for treatment of stress incontinence. If needed, however, several different urinary stress incontinence surgeries exist. Consultation with your doctor will help determine if a surgical procedure is appropriate:

Surgery Description
Collagen Injection A simple outpatient operation, collagen is injected around the urethra. This helps build up the area around the urethra and tightens the urethral sphincter. Note: some people have serious allergic reactions to collagen.
Sling Procedure Either synthetic material or abdominal tissue is used to compress the urethral sphincter.
Retropubic Suspension, Anterior Vaginal Repair, Needle Bladder Neck Suspension These various procedures involve surgery to modify the tissue that supports and anchors the bladder and urethra. The goal is to bring these structures back into the correct position.

Resources

Abington Urological Specialists. (nd). Incontinence. Retrieved February 13, 2002, from www.abington-urology.com/incontinence/inctreat.html.

Digital Urology Journal. (nd). Urinary incontinence in women. Retrieved February 12, 2002, from www.duj.com/UrinaryIncontinence.html.

Leach, G. (nd). Urinary incontinence in men: A treatable problem. Retrieved February 18, 2002, from www.hisandherhealth.com/articles/Urinary_ Incontinence_in_Men_A_Treatable_Problem.shtml.