Behavioral Techniques For Treatment Of Urinary Incontinence

Behavioral techniques are noninvasive, free of side effects, and don't limit further treatment options. They can greatly improve your bladder control, without any use of medications or surgery.

Treating urinary incontinence with behavioral techniques includes:

Bladder control training

Bladder control training can help you to more efficiently control your bladder. It can improve the bladder's weaknesses and enable it to hold more urine.

You are requested to urinate only when scheduled, at a progressively increasing intervals. You are taught to postpone urination according to a fixed schedule and might be asked to keep a bladder diary to record fluid intake, trips to the bathroom, episodes of urine leakage and an estimate of the amount of leakage. A bladder diary should be kept as an aid to a treatment as well as a motivating factor.

Bladder control training often shows a positive effect already after a week. Overall it may take from 3 to 12 weeks. An unsuccessful bladder training should not continue beyond 2-3 weeks.

Combined with biofeedback and pelvic muscle or Kegel exercises, this method may help you control urge and overflow incontinence.


Pelvic muscle exercises (also known as Kegel exercises)

Pelvic muscle exercises or Kegel exercises are simple exercises to strenghten or retrain the muscles near the urethra. When performed correctly with guidance from a medical professional, they can be an effective treatment option for stress incontinence. People of all ages can learn and practice these exercises, although they are sometimes difficult to do correctly and require a lot of time and dedication.

Kegel exercises were originally developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel with the goal of helping women strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor during pregnancy and after childbirth. Although designed for women, the Kegel exercises are effective in reducing incontinence problems in men as well. It may take 3 to 6 months to see an improvement.

These exercises involve repeatedly tightening, holding, and then relaxing the pelvic floor muscles and like any exercises, they are only effective as long as you continue doing it. Be patient and don't give up. You may not feel your bladder control improve for 3 to 6 weeks. Still, most people do notice an improvement after a few weeks.

Women with strong pelvic floor muscles may also experience an improved sexual response. These exercises can be done anywhere - in a car, in a queue at the bank or supermarket, watching television, sitting at a table, reading a book, etc.


Biofeedback

Biofeedback uses measuring devices to help you become more aware of your body's functioning.

A variety of instruments are used to record the small electrical signals that are given off when specific muscles (muscles around bladder opening) are squeezed. Small sensors are temporarily placed over your bladder and urethral muscles, and as you practice contracting muscles around the bladder, the sensors give you a signal, usually an audible tone or movement on a visual display or graph, indicating when you have correctly contracted the right muscles. Biofeedback can be used to help teach Kegel exercises.


Vaginal cone therapy

Recently developed exercise method suitable only for women is called vaginal cone therapy.

This technique involves the use of a set of small vaginal cones of increasing weight. Patient simply places the small plastic cone in the vagina, where it is held in by a mild reflex contraction. Because it is a reflex contraction, little effort is required on the part of the patient.

The exercise should be preformed twice a day for fifteen to twenty minutes. Within 4 to 6 weeks, about 70% of women have had some improvement in their symptoms.


Dietary changes and weight problems

Certain foods and drinks can cause urinary incontinence, such as caffeine (in coffee, soda, chocolate), tea, and alcohol. You can often reduce incontinence symptoms by restricting these liquids in your diet.

Extra weight can also cause bladder control problems. Losing extra weight can help you to be more successfull in dealing with incontinence.