Urinary incontinence is a physical inability to retain urine (it has nothing to do with a lack of willpower). People with incontinence may involuntarily urinate at any time, in any circumstances...
Incontinence can be temporary or permanent. When it is due to a urinary infection, constipation, or medication (such as antidepressants, antihypertensives, or diuretics), incontinence can be treated by eliminating its cause. On the other hand, when it is caused by a physical problem or is age-related, treatment may be more complicated.
Incontinence can often be prevented.
Before taking any drug to control incontinence, tell your physician or pharmacist which drugs you are already taking since they may be responsible for the problem. Several very effective drugs for the control of incontinence are available. Your physician can determine which medication is best for you, based on the type of incontinence you are experiencing.
Protective pads or undergarments are used to avoid accidents while the incontinence problem is being addressed. They allow people to maintain autonomy and lead normal lives, without having to worry about leaks. There are many products on the market. Your pharmacist can help you choose the right product based on comfort, capacity, and type of incontinence
Bladder re-education and Kegel exercises can help people with incontinence.
Step 1: Locate the pelvic floor muscles
Contract the muscles that you use to interrupt the flow of urine or prevent a bowel movement or the passing of gas. To make sure you are contracting the right muscles :
A biofeedback device can be used to help locate the right muscles. This device may be recommended by a qualified health care professional in the treatment of incontinence.
Step 2: Tighten the muscles for 5 to 10 seconds
Step 3: Relax muscles for 10 seconds
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3, 12 to 20 times in one exercise session
Gradually increase until you can do these exercises 3 times a day. Try to integrate into your daily exercise routine. You should notice results after a few weeks. As with any other muscle, they need to be kept in shape if you want them to stay strong. Once you have achieved your goal, regular maintenance workouts are required.
To further strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, women can use vaginal cones (ex.: LadySystem®). These cones, of varying weights, are inserted into the vagina and held in place by tightening the pelvic floor muscles.
In closing, if you or someone you know has urinary incontinence, don't hesitate to talk about it. Urinary incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of. With the right kind of help, you can lead a normal life and maintain your dignity.
For more information or support:
The Canadian Continence Foundation
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.