Overactive Bladder (cont.)

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What are treatments for the chronically incontinent?

Although many people will improve their continence through medications, pelvic-muscle exercises, and bladder training, some will never achieve complete dryness. Sometimes treatment failures are due to concurrent use of other necessary medications, such as diuretics (water pills that increase urination), that actually can cause incontinence. Others may have dementia or other physical impairments that keep them from being able to perform pelvic-muscle exercises or retrain their bladders. Many will be cared for in long-term care facilities or at home. The following recommendations can help keep the chronically incontinent drier and reduce their cost of care:

  • Scheduled toileting: Take people to the toilet every two to four hours or according to their toilet habits.
  • Prompted voiding: Check for dryness and encourage use of the toilet.
  • Improved access to toilets: Use equipment such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and devices that raise the seating level of toilets to make toileting easier.
  • Managing fluids and diet: Eliminate dietary caffeine (for those with urge incontinence) and encourage adequate fiber in the diet.
  • Disposable absorbent garments: Use these to keep people dry.

What measures can be taken at home to prevent overactive bladder symptoms?

There are simple steps that can reduce symptoms of overactive bladder. For example, caffeine may exacerbate urinary urgency and it is potentially an irritant to the bladder. Eliminating caffeine intake can diminish some of the symptoms of overactive bladder.

Some experts suggest that avoidance of certain foods such as chocolate, spicy foods, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and nuts can be beneficial in preventing symptoms of overactive bladder. Others encourage increasing the amount of fiber in diet for people with overactive bladder. Limiting fluid intake can also help to reduce urinary frequency.

Excess weight can put more pressure on the bladder, causing urinary incontinence. Therefore, weight loss can also help with urinary incontinence in general.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/8/2014

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