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After discussing the different types of urinary incontinence, it is essential to turn our attention to the various treatment options available. Once a physician has made a diagnosis, a treatment plan can be formulated. Initially, based on the type of incontinence, conservative treatment options are the first-line defense. Conventional methods include pelvic floor training, lifestyle modifications, and bladder training.
Pelvic floor training can be done at home without the assistance of a physical therapist. Kegel exercises, the main component of pelvic floor training is done by contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor. Kegel exercises can be done multiple times a day, even after full strength is regained. However, if the lack of muscle strength in that area is significant enough, your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist can work on overall core strength, in addition to the pelvic floor strength. A durable pelvic floor can significantly improve bladder control, and it can even reverse stress incontinence. Kegel exercises can positively benefit every type of incontinence, so it is essential to actively participate in this training daily.
There are a variety of lifestyle modifications that you can implement to reduce the number of urgent sprints to the bathroom. For instance, too much fluid intake can cause too many trips to the bathroom. Also, it is essential to avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea. Both of these drinks are bladder irritants, which means that it can increase the frequency and the urge to urinate. Alcohol also has the same effect. Another handy tip to reduce the frequent bathroom break includes smoking cessation. Smoking causes obvious prolonged irritation due to the thousands of toxic chemicals in the cigarette. The constant irritation to the lungs causes inflammation, which, in turn, creates a chronic cough. Coughing can lead to stress incontinence or minor bladder leaks.
Finally, bladder training plays an integral role in correcting or significantly improving urinary incontinence. Bladder training progressively trains the bladder to increase the amount of urine it can hold. If the bladder can hold more urine, in theory, there will be fewer trips to the bathroom. The brain will be retrained through this process, providing an efficient bladder in the long run. To begin bladder training, use the bathroom first thing in the morning. Then, adhere to the schedule discussed by your physician. Some physicians advise two hours or more between each visit to the bathroom. You should eventually be able to work up to longer intervals, like 4 hours. Try increasing the intervals 15 minutes once a week. Do not increase the interval if you cannot successfully go the length of time between bathroom visits. Typically, it will take 6-12 weeks to reach the end goal.