Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Overactive Bladder Treatment

The treatment for urgency incontinence depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for urgency incontinence may include behavioral therapy and meditation, Kegel exercises, medication, or surgery.

Specific treatment for urgency incontinence may include:

  • Behavioral therapy for urgency incontinence:
    • Relaxation techniques
  • Bladder training:
    • Delaying urination when you have the urge to urinate
    • Urinating twice, in order to completely empty the bladder
    • Maintaining a schedule for urination
  • Kegel exercises:
    • Strengthen the pelvic muscles
  • Medications for urgency incontinence:
  • Stimulator implant:
  • Surgery for urgency incontinence
  • Pads and protective underwear

For more information:

Overactive Bladder Bladder Exercises

Kegel exercises can help control the symptoms of urgency incontinence. Kegel exercises suppress the urge to urinate by contracting the muscles that control urination. This gradually increases the time between voiding. The goal is to have at least 2 hours between voiding during the day, and 6-8 hours between voiding at night.

How to perform Kegel exercises:

  • Contract your muscles upward and inward while voiding, so that you can stop the flow of urine.
  • Hold this position for a count of 6 seconds.
  • Release the urine for a count of 6 seconds.
  • Repeat the above one more time before emptying your bladder.

Overactive Bladder Diet

In the treatment of urgency incontinence, you should avoid foods that irritate the bladder.

Foods that irritate the bladder include:

  • Beverages
    • Alcohol
    • Coffee
    • Soda
    • Tea
  • Condiments
    • Barbecue sauce
    • Capers
    • Chutney
    • Cocktail sauce
    • Corn relish
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Horseradish
    • Hot pepper sauce
    • Ketchup
    • Mustard
    • Pickles
    • Relishes
    • Roasted peppers
    • Salsa
    • Sauerkraut
    • Sweet and sour sauce
    • Tartar sauce
    • Vinegar
    • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fruits and fruit juices (acidic)
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Cantaloupe
    • Grapefruit
    • Grapes
    • Kiwi
    • Lemon
    • Lime
    • Mango
    • Nectarines
    • Oranges
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Pineapple
    • Plums
    • Star fruit
    • Strawberries
    • Tomatoes (all varieties)
  • Salad dressings
    • Bleu cheese
    • Caesar
    • French
    • Honey mustard
    • Italian
    • Poppy seed
    • Ranch
    • Thousand Island
    • Vinaigrette
  • Snacks
    • Applesauce
    • Chocolate
    • Gelatin (e.g. Jell-O)
    • Spicy crackers
    • Spicy nachos
    • Spicy potato chips
  • Vegetables
    • Beets
    • Cabbage
    • Canned or jarred artichokes
    • Peppers

Overactive Bladder Drugs

Medications used to treat urgency incontinence include:

Overactive Bladder Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of urgency incontinence.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for urgency incontinence?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Overactive Bladder Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat urgency incontinence:

Overactive Bladder Stimulator Implant

Urinary Incontinence Stimulator Implant for Urgency Incontinence
A stimulator implant is a small device designed to be surgically implanted under the skin of the abdomen. It sends electrical pulses to the sacral nerves in the lower back, which stimulate the muscles that control bladder function.

Overactive Bladder Surgery

Surgery for urgency incontinence may include:

  • Augmentation cystoplasty:
    • A segment of intestine is removed from the bowel and the bowel is repaired. One end of the segment is closed, while the other end is attached to an incision in the wall of the bladder.
    • This increases the size of the bladder and provides more room to store urine.
    • Augmentation cystoplasty is the most common surgical procedure performed for urgency incontinence.

Continue to Overactive Bladder Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 8, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Overactive Bladder References
  1. Nuotio M, Jylha M, Luukkaala T, Tammela TL. Urgency, urge incontinence and voiding symptoms in men and women aged 70 years and over. BJU Int. 2002 Mar;89(4):350-5. [11872023]
  2. Siegel SW, Catanzaro F, Dijkema HE, Elhilali MM, Fowler CJ, Gajewski JB, Hassouna MM, Janknegt RA, Jonas U, van Kerrebroeck PE, Lycklama a Nijeholt AA, Oleson KA, Schmidt RA. Long-term results of a multicenter study on sacral nerve stimulation for treatment of urinary urge incontinence, urgency-frequency, and retention. Urology. 2000 Dec 4;56(6 Suppl 1):87-91. [11114569]
  3. Zinner N, Harnett M, Sabounjian L, Sandage B Jr, Dmochowski R, Staskin D. The overactive bladder-symptom composite score: a composite symptom score of toilet voids, urgency severity and urge urinary incontinence in patients with overactive bladder. J Urol. 2005 May;173(5):1639-43. [15821526]
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