Urinary Incontinence and Bladder Control

June 06, 2012

Doctor advising his patients about treatments for urinary incontinence

Answers to your Questions About Urinary Incontinence. If bladder control problems are embarrassing you or limiting your enjoyment of life, find out more about this surprisingly common condition and today's most effective new treatments

What is urinary incontinence?

Incontinence is when the body leaks urine without meaning to. Urine is stored in a balloon-like organ - the bladder. Urine leaves the body through a tube called the urethra. When bladder muscles tighten without warning, or the muscles at the base of the urethra relax without warning, you can have leakage. Those muscle changes can also cause you to urinate more often or more urgently. Even urinary urgency and frequency without unwanted urine leakage is a medical condition that may be severe enough to warrant intervention.

How can Humana help?

Humana has partnered with the National Association For Continence (NAFC) in order to help our members become more educated and aware of the symptoms of incontinence, and more importantly, to help them learn more about the treatment options that are available.

Don't let your bladder control your life

Urinary incontinence is common, but whether your problem is big or small, you don't have to live with it. Humana and the NAFC can help you talk to your doctor about managing urine leakage. Many times it can be treated without surgery, so don't be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about it.

We've included some common treatments below to help you start the conversation with your doctor or health provider.

Treatments may include:

  1. Pelvic muscle exercises, also called Kegel, exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles so that you can hold urine in the bladder longer. These are simple exercises that can be done anywhere and at anytime. No special equipment is needed.
  2. Bladder control training like timed urination (or timed voiding), which involves emptying the bladder regularly. You might urinate every hour at first, and then increase the time slowly, as instructed by your doctor.
  3. Lifestyle changes could also help. These include losing excess weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, drinking less caffeine, preventing constipation, and avoiding lifting heavy objects.
  4. Medicines can block nerve signals that cause incontinence. They can also help prevent muscle spasms in the bladder. Other medications may have side effects that contribute to symptoms of incontinence.
  5. Other options like special devices, injections, or surgery may be considered for managing or treating symptoms.

Finding the right treatment for you could take time. It can also take time for the treatment to start working. Stick with it so you can enjoy all of your favorite activities, without worry. Learn more about symptoms of incontinence and other treatment options at www.NAFC.org

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