Stress Incontinence Treatments

The problems caused by stress incontinence can usually be resolved by combining simple changes in your habits (such as reducing alcohol and caffeine intake as described above) with bladder training in the form of pelvic floor exercises. When done daily, they will strengthen the bladder and allow a greater degree of control, which will prevent urine from leaking.

The pelvic floor muscles can be found by attempting to stop urinating while in the toilet. To strengthen them, doctors recommend that you perform eight contractions three times a day. To correctly contract the muscles, you must tighten them and pull them inwards, and hold this position for a few seconds before releasing. In order for this to have any effect, you must be able to do so without also moving your stomach, buttocks or thighs. You should perform the contractions for at least three months, although it is easy to work them into your daily routine and continue them throughout your life. If you are unsure about how to perform pelvic floor exercises, contact your doctor.

Medication is not usually used to treat stress incontinence, although women who suffer from incontinence following the menopause are sometimes prescribed a vaginal oestrogen cream, which counteracts some of the negative effects of the menopause. Medication prescribed to counter-act the effects of stress incontinence can have side effects including loss of libido, tiredness and high blood pressure.

Specialists may recommend you undergo electrical stimulation therapy in order to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (often known as Pelvic Floor Electrical Stimulation, or PFES). This is usually done by a doctor, nurse or other specialist, and involves using a vaginal or rectal probe to emit electric currents, which cause the pelvic muscles to contract. This can help people who are unable to independently exercise their pelvic floor muscles to regain control over this area. However, PFES should not be used on anyone who has any of the following conditions:

  • Dementia
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Anyone fitted with a pacemaker
  • Serious or unstable cardiac arrhythmia
  • Painful haemorrhoids
  • Anyone who is pregnant, or trying to become pregnant

Surgery to Resolve Stress Incontinence

If making lifestyle changes and doing pelvic floor exercises has had little or no effect on your incontinence, your doctor may suggest surgery. There are a few different surgical procedures which may be performed, including:

  • Botox Injections
  • Sling Procedures
  • Colposuspension
  • Artificial Sphincter for Stress Incontinence