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Urinary Incontinence, Ambulatory Care

Urinary incontinence (UI)

is when you leak urine. UI occurs because your bladder cannot store or empty urine properly. The 3 most common types of UI are stress incontinence, urge incontinence, or both.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • A bladder that does not empty completely when you urinate
  • Urinating often and a need to urinate immediately
  • Leaking urine when you sleep, or waking up with the urge to urinate
  • Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, exercise, or laugh

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain
  • Confusion or trouble thinking clearly

Manage your symptoms:

  • Do pelvic floor muscle exercises often to help strengthen your pelvic muscles and improve bladder control. Tighten and relax your pelvic muscles as often as directed.
  • Train your bladder. Go to the bathroom at set times, such as every 2 hours, even if you do not feel the urge to go. You can also try to hold your urine when you feel the urge to go. For example, hold your urine for 5 minutes when you feel the urge to go. As that becomes easier, hold your urine for 10 minutes. Work up to every 3 or 4 hours to help control your bladder.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh and about the best exercise plan for you. Weight loss and exercise will decrease pressure on your bladder and help you control your leakage. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Keep a UI record. Write down how often you leak urine and how much you leak. Make a note of what you were doing when you leaked urine.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. You may need to limit the amount of liquid you drink to help control your urine leakage. Limit or do not have drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. Do not drink any liquid right before you go to bed.
  • Prevent constipation. Eat a variety of high-fiber foods. Good examples are high-fiber cereals, beans, vegetables, and whole-grain breads. Prune juice may help make your bowel movement softer. Walking is the best way to trigger your intestines to have a bowel movement.

Treatment for UI

may include any of the following:

  • Medicines can help strengthen your bladder control.
  • Electrical stimulation is used to send a small amount of electrical energy to your pelvic floor muscles. This helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Electrodes may be placed outside your body or in your rectum. For women, the electrodes may be placed in the vagina.
  • A bulking agent may be injected into the wall of your urethra to make it thicker. This helps keep your urethra closed and decreases urine leakage.
  • Devices such as a clamp, pessary, or tampon may help stop urine leaks. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other devices.
  • Surgery may be needed if other treatments do not work. Several types of surgery can help improve your bladder control. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about the surgery you may need.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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