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Handling Urinary Incontinence

Reclaim Your Freedom
Does a leaky bladder stop you from exercising or socializing? If so, there is hope. You can improve and even prevent incontinence problems.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence, you're not alone. Nearly half of women and a quarter of men report problems with leaking urine. No matter what the cause—from stress to a persistent urge to urinate—this problem does not have to get in the way of living life to its fullest.

Strategies to Prevent Urine Leakage
Training your bladder and exercising your pelvic muscles can help you prevent urine leakage. Here are tips to help you succeed:

1. Train Your Bladder
If you have the urge to urinate more than every 2-3 hours, try to relax for 5 minutes before slowly walking to the bathroom. Each week add 5-15 minutes to your waiting time until the time between urges is at least 3 hours.

2. Do Kegal Exercises
Locate the right muscles. If you can stop your flow while urinating, you've found them. To do the Kegels properly:

  • Squeeze your bladder muscles and hold for 3-10 seconds.
  • Rest 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10-15 times and do 3-4 sets a day.

3. Keep a Bladder Diary
Record the fluids you drink, the times you urinate, and the amount of urine—both day and night. Also, write down when any leakage occurs and note what you were doing when it happened. Discuss your diary with your doctor; the information can help you both as you work together to create a treatment plan.

While Kegel exercises are the number one treatment for most incontinence, there are some medications and surgical options that may help. Be sure to talk with your doctor if the strategies outlined here don't provide you any relief.

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