Incontinence refers to a loss of bladder control, and is a problem for many senior citizens. This problem can lead to inconvenience, humiliation and feelings of helplessness with the onset of advanced aging. However, with proper foresight and treatment, those affected can cope with incontinence and continue living productive and shame-free lives.
Here are several ways to treat incontinence:
- Behavioral therapy. Bladder control can be reestablished by changing your lifestyle. Adjusting the amount and frequency of hydration can make a big difference, as well as decreasing the intake of certain substances like coffee. Start by recording the frequency and time of each day's urination for several days, then extend the interval duration between each toilet break. After setting a regular interval of two to four hours, maintain this habit, especially at night that will allow a comfortable sleep cycle.
- Kegel exercises. These workouts target the pelvic muscles to provide greater strength and control in several functions, one of which is urination. These exercises are simple and easy, and can be accomplished at any time and place, and the results can emerge in as little as two months. Kegel exercises must be performed starting at a young age when the pelvic muscles are still in shape. Consult a doctor for the proper execution of these exercises.
- Adult diapers. These can reduce the chance of embarrassment during untimely releases in public areas.
- Anticholigernic medication. These types of drugs, such as oxybutenin and slyfenacin, decrease the occurrence of spasms in muscles, such as those around the bladder. Side effects like sleepiness and dry mouth may occur, so it's best to consult your doctor before taking these.
- Acupuncture. This form of traditional Chinese medicine has proven to be helpful in regaining bladder control. An experienced acupuncturist will be able to pinpoint the exact spots on the body which influences the bladder and insert pins into it to effect a positive response. A series of sessions can result in an improved bladder capacity as well as decrease discomfort.
- Botox injections. This popular form of cosmetic procedure, where a potent toxin is applied in tiny doses to paralyze muscles and reduce wrinkles, is now being used to inhibit bladder muscles. Overactive bladders will usually seize without warning and cause an untimely expulsion of urine. By paralyzing it with botulinum toxin, the bladder muscle will become less sensitive and give the subject some degree of control over his urination. The effects of the botox will diminish after six months, after which another round of injections is needed. As this procedure is still new, a specialist must be consulted for the correct dosage and post-treatment routine.
- Surgery. Urethral implants and artificial sphincters are just some of the procedures available for treating severe incontinence. Consider this approach when all other options are ineffective.
Incontinence may also strike women after childbirth, when their pelvic muscles are weakened considerably. Bladder control can return faster with the proper pelvic flood exercises.