Urinary incontinence affects up to one-third of adults in America, about 30 percent of women aged 30-60 and 1.5-5% of men, according to the American Urological Association. Defined as the loss of bladder control, urinary incontinence causes bladder leakages that can drastically affect patients’ lives, limiting their ability to perform job duties, participate in leisure activities, travel, and more. For those with urinary incontinence, knowing how to stop bladder leakages makes all the difference.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce symptoms and regain control of your life, from holistic lifestyle interventions to advanced therapies. Learn more about how to stop bladder leakages below.
Treatment Depends on the Cause of Incontinence
It’s important to note that there are different types of urinary incontinence and that the condition can have many potential causes.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
Another factor in determining a patient’s most appropriate care pathway is the type of incontinence a patient experiences. These include:
- Urge incontinence: You experience urges to urinate that are so strong you often cannot make it to the restroom in time, leading to bladder leakages. Urge incontinence is a subset of a medical condition called Overactive Bladder (OAB).
- Stress incontinence: Urine leaks out when stress is put on the bladder through actions such as coughing, sneezing, standing, or exercising. Stress incontinence in women is often related to pregnancy or childbirth while in men it can be caused by prostate problems.
- Mixed incontinence: You experience both urge incontinence and stress incontinence.
Learn more about the types of urinary incontinence by reading our blog on the subject.
Your recommended treatment will need to take into account the underlying cause of your symptoms as well as the type of incontinence you experience. The good news is that even if your symptoms are a result of OAB, there are treatment options available to help reduce your symptoms and stop bladder leakages. Keep reading to learn about them.
How to Stop Bladder Leakages and Control Incontinence
As mentioned above, if your bladder leakages are caused by a serious medical condition such as an infection or an enlarged prostate, you will need to treat the underlying condition. Depending on the condition, this may be enough to resolve your incontinence symptoms as well. Still, many patients need treatment for bladder leakages in addition to treatment for the underlying condition.
In other circumstances long term management of symptoms may be the only option.. In such cases, doctors typically start by recommending lifestyle interventions before prescribing medication or recommending advanced therapies, such as implants.
How to Stop Bladder Leakages with Lifestyle Changes
First-line treatments for chronic urinary incontinence consist of behavioral interventions such as changing one’s diet and fluid intake, pelvic floor exercises, and more:
1. Bladder Diary
Keeping a bladder diary consists of carefully tracking your incontinence symptoms, including the frequency and severity of urinations and urges, frequency of leakages, the type, amount, and time of fluids consumed, and more. This information acts as both an important diagnostic tool and basis for treatment.
2. Bladder Training
Bladder training is the practice of retraining the bladder to be able to hold urine for longer periods of time, reducing both urgency and leakages. Bladder training can include delaying urination, double voiding (urinating, pausing for a few minutes, then urinating again), and scheduling restroom visits, such as once every 2 hours.
3. Diet and Fluid Intake
Many people with urinary incontinence treat their symptoms by reducing or eliminating food and drink that irritates the lining of the bladder, particularly close to bedtime (if frequent nighttime urination is a problem). These include:
- Beverages that act as diuretics, such as alcohol, coffee, and tea
- Carbonated drinks, like soda
- Caffeinated drinks and food, including chocolate
- Spicy foods
- Acidic food and drink, such as citrus and tomatoes
4. Kegel and Pelvic Floor Exercises
For stress incontinence, Kegel and/or pelvic floor episodes can strengthen the muscles around the bladder and ultimately improve the bladder’s ability to hold larger amounts of urine for longer periods of time.
5. Natural Remedies
Studies have found some evidence that certain herbal remedies, teas, and foods may help reduce OAB symptoms like urinary incontinence. However, it is always important to check with your doctor before taking any herbal remedies or supplements, as they can have side effects or interact with your other medications.
How to Stop Bladder Leakages with Medication
There are prescription medications that can treat urinary incontinence in the event that lifestyle changes do not resolve symptoms. It’s important to carefully discuss your medical history and other medications with your doctor, and you may need to weigh the costs and benefits of any medication side effects.
How to Stop Bladder Leakages with Advanced Therapies
If bladder leakages persist despite lifestyle interventions and medication, all is not lost – there are advanced therapy options. These include Botox injections to the bladder muscle, Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS), and sacral nerve stimulation, also known as Sacral Neuromodulation.
Axonics Sacral Neuromodulation
The Axonics System is a Sacral Neuromodulation therapy delivered via a small, minimally invasive implant. The remote-controlled implant transmits electrical pulses to the sacral nerves to help restore healthy bladder function for at least 15 years.
Disclaimer: Axonics does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.