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Incontinence Learning Center - Treatment for Incontinence

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence (UI)

Surgery (i.e., bladder neck suspension, bladder tuck, collagen implants and/or injections)

Common surgeries performed to restore continence include bladder neck suspension, bladder tuck, and collagen implants and/or injections. Surgery can be successful, but all surgery poses risks that need to be measured against the patient's objectives and other needs.

A drawback to surgery is that the financial cost of surgery and recuperative care may be prohibitive. In addition, the elderly or otherwise ailing may not be able to or want to face the health risks posed by any surgically invasive procedure. Surgery can require extensive recuperation time either in the hospital or in the care of a caretaker, creating additional physical, financial, and emotional considerations.

Electrical Stimulation

In this treatment option, mild, electrical pulses are applied to the Kegel muscles in an attempt to strengthen the muscles that control urinary flow. Aside from the theory that electric stimulation will cause the Kegel muscles to contract in a way that simulates traditional Kegel exercises, it is believed that the stimulation may encourage the growth of nerve cells that cause the muscles to contract.

The effectiveness of this treatment option is not fully known, but it is estimated that almost half of the people who undergo this treatment report improvement in symptoms.


Drug Therapy

Many of the drugs prescribed to improve symptoms of UI target specific kinds of urinary incontinence, so a correct diagnosis is vital for those seeking drug therapy. However, a correct diagnosis of the cause of UI can be difficult. In addition, one must consider the potentially hazardous side effects that accompanies the digestion of any chemical substance. Side effects that are often cited for these drugs include cardiac dysrhythmia and other cardiac abnormalities and possible hypertension or depression.*

Kegel Exercises

Classified under Behavior Techniques, Kegel exercises, when properly executed, tighten the pelvic muscles that control urine flow. These muscles are called Kegels after Dr. Arnold Kegel, who discovered the muscle group that controlled urine flow and introduced the concept of strengthening them through exercise to improve continence. Apparatus is available to help women target these muscles, as they can be difficult to locate for those with weaker muscles, and especially difficult for women with any nerve damage.

Unfortunately, many patients are unaware that these muscles exist and find the Kegel exercises difficult to perform correctly without the help of a medical professional or device. Some studies find that approximately half of women perform Kegel exercises incorrectly when given verbal or written instructions only.


There are various "bulking agents" that can be injected into tissues around the bladder neck and urethra to increase the tissue's thickness and help close the bladder opening. Collagen is often used, though patients that are allergic to collagen (a natural substance from cows) have other options. Collagen is the same substance used to bulk lips and fill in facial lines in cosmetic procedures. Injections take minimal time - sometimes a half an hour will do - but must be done regularly to maintain effect.

Behavioral Techniques

Almost all people who suffer from UI can consider physical and psychological behavior techniques and therapy to reduce the frequency or intensity of their symptoms. Cure or improvement reported in 70-90% of patients who undergo behavioral therapies. Behavioral techniques include: EMG Biofeedback Therapy, pelvic muscle exercises (Kegels), psychotherapy, and tracking symptoms through the use of a bladder diary.

Absorbency Products

While there are many treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms of urinary incontinence, managing UI with bladder control products such as bladder control pads, disposable protective underwear, and briefs can help you stay active AND discreet. You customize the protection by picking your absorbency level, then picking the length. So you don't have to necessarily wear a larger pad for more protection.

See Product Guide to determine which products are right for you.

*Consult your medical professional to assess your risks associated with each of these types of drugs. This summary is not intended as substitute for the advice and treatment of a medical professional.

Infomation taken from

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