There are four categories of treatments: behavioral techniques, medications, medical devices, and surgery. Your doctor may want to begin with the behavioral approach, because it is the least invasive. However, treatment should be customized for each patient based on diagnosis, severity of condition, age, and ability to comply with treatment recommendations. Overactive bladder is often treated with medications, and stress incontinence is often treated surgically.
Two primary behavioral therapies are pelvic floor exercises and bladder retraining.
Treatment of OAB is focused on reducing bladder spasms and increasing bladder capacity. Typically, doctors recommend a combination of behavioral techniques and medications to achieve greater effect in a short time. These include:
Patients who don't respond well to the traditional noninvasive treatments may benefit from neuromodulation techniques, including peripheral acupuncture. Some doctors are experimenting with injecting Botox® into the bladder, but this has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Treatment of SUI is focused on improving support of the bladder neck. Treatments include:
In cases of mild stress incontinence, pelvic floor exercises and physical therapy may result in significant improvement. In cases of moderate to severe incontinence, surgery is the best option. Over the past decade, surgery has evolved to become a safe and effective outpatient procedure, with success rates greater than 90 percent and complication rates less than 5 percent.
Anatomical urinary incontinence is treated surgically.
Functional urinary incontinence might be treated with a bedside commode or urinary catheterization.
Last reviewed on 1/29/10
U.S. News's featured content providers were not involved in the selection of advertisers appearing on this website, and the placement of such advertisement in no way implies that these content providers endorse the products and services advertised. Disclaimer and a note about your health.