Incontinence Is Treatable

Published Online: Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Surveys and studies have shown that stress urinary incontinence (SUI) can be frustrating, inconvenient, and even embarrassing for individuals with this condition. Risk factors for SUI include advancing age, childbirth, smoking, and obesity. While there are treatment options, experts said that the best treatment depends on the cause of incontinence and the individual's personal preference.

Health care professionals recommended the following options:

  • Kegel exercises, depending on the severity of the condition. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic muscles involved in urination. These exercises involve briefly contracting and then releasing the muscles that control urinary flow. Kegel exercises have been shown to improve or cure urinary incontinence in most individuals who use them.
  • Dietary changes, such as avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and spicy food.
  • Surgery to add support for the bladder neck is usually recommended for severe stress incontinence that does not respond to medication or exercise.

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