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Bladder Control and Your Health

We understand that topics like urinary incontinence are uncomfortable to discuss with your doctor. But you’re not alone. More than 25 million people in the United States experience this every day. Urinary incontinence is the loss of urine control. The need to urinate can come on quickly and almost without warning.

The good news is that there are many treatments. A few basic lifestyle changes may be enough to solve the problem, but your doctor is the best person to help you take control of this issue. Here are some treatments for urinary incontinence:

  • Lifestyle changes may help with incontinence. Losing weight, quitting smoking, saying “no” to alcohol, drinking less caffeine (found in coffee, tea and many sodas), preventing constipation and avoiding lifting heavy objects may help with incontinence. Drinking water instead of other drinks and limiting any drinks before bedtime may also help.
  • Pelvic muscle exercises (also known as Kegel exercises) work the muscles that you use to stop urinating. Making these muscles stronger helps you hold urine in your bladder longer.
  • Timed voiding may help you control your bladder. In timed voiding, you urinate on a set schedule; for example, every hour. Then you slowly extend the time between bathroom trips. When timed voiding is combined with Kegel exercises, you may find it easier to control your urge to go and bladder leakage.

To make it easier to talk to your doctor about incontinence, bring a list of your symptoms and any questions. Discuss how much bladder control issues affect your daily life. Be ready to write down notes to help you remember what the doctor said. To get the highest quality care, it’s important to be clear and honest with your doctor about what is happening with your health.

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