How is urinary incontinence treated?

Updated: Mar 19, 2019
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Treatment is keyed to the type of incontinence. The usual approaches are as follows:

  • Stress incontinence - Surgery, pelvic floor physiotherapy, anti-incontinence devices, and medication

  • Urge incontinence - Changes in diet, behavioral modification, pelvic-floor exercises, and/or medications and new forms of surgical intervention

  • Mixed incontinence - Anticholinergic drugs and surgery

  • Overflow incontinence - Catheterization regimen or diversion

  • Functional incontinence - Treatment of the underlying cause

 Some experts recommend a trial of medical therapy before considering surgical treatment. Others believe that if the incontinence is severe and correctable by surgical means, a trial of medical therapy is not mandatory and does not need to be performed if the informed patient chooses to proceed directly to surgery.

Treatment of comorbid disease may minimize incontinence episodes. Measures such as smoking cessation, control of asthma, and relief chronic constipation may be beneficial.


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