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Female Incontinence Treatment

Kegel Exercises
For stress incontinence, a doctor may recommend Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles below the bladder (pelvic floor muscles) that hold in urine. These exercises involve repeatedly tightening, holding, and then relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.
 
Biofeedback
Biofeedback uses measuring devices to help you become aware of your body's functioning. By using electronic devices or diaries to track when your bladder and urethral muscles contract, you can usually gain control over these muscles. Biofeedback can be used with pelvic muscle exercises, and electrical stimulation, to relieve stress and urge incontinence.
 

Medicines for Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder occurs when abnormal nerves send signals to the bladder at the wrong time, causing its muscles to squeeze without warning. Normal women may void (urinate) up to 12 times a day, but women with overactive bladder may find that they must urinate more frequently. Specifically, the symptoms of overactive bladder include:
 
  • Urinary frequency -- urination 13 or more times a day or 2 or more times at night
  • Urinary urgency -- the sudden, strong need to urinate immediately
  • Urge incontinence -- leakage or gushing of urine that follows a sudden, strong urge.
     
If you have an overactive bladder, your doctor may prescribe a medicine to block the nerve signals that cause frequent urination and urgency.
 
Bladder Relaxants
For many years, only two urinary incontinence medicines were approved to treat overactive bladder:
 
Since then, the FDA has approved several more drugs:
 

 

These incontinence medicines belong to the class of drugs called bladder relaxants.
 
Their most common side effect is dry mouth, although larger doses may cause other symptoms, such as:
 
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Flushing (reddening of the skin).
     
Antidepressants
Imipramine hydrochloride (Tofranil®), a tricyclic antidepressant, that relaxes bladder muscles and tightens urethral muscles, may be used instead of, or in combination with Ditropan XL or Detrol LA.
 
Side effects may include:
 
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia.
     
If you take medicine to treat an overactive bladder, you should take several precautions, such as:
 
  • Wear sunglasses if your eyes become more sensitive to light
  • Take care not to become overheated
  • Chew gum, or suck on sugarless hard candy to avoid dry mouth.
     
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