Patient Education for Managing Urinary Incontinence
- Keep a log noting when you have incontinence and when you void deliberately. A pattern or trend may emerge that will help you plan ahead.
- Perform Kegel exercises 2 times a day.
- As you begin urinating, try to stop the flow of urine without tensing the muscles of your legs. It is very important not to use these other muscles, because only the pelvic floor muscles help with bladder control.
- When you are able to slow or stop the stream of urine you have located the correct muscles. Feel the sensation of the muscles pulling inward and upward.
- Hold to a count of 3, working your way up to a count of 10.
- Helpful hint: If you squeeze the rectal area as if...not to pass gas, you will be using the correct muscles.
- When voiding, practice “double voiding” (urinate, wait a few seconds, urinate again).
- Urinate only every 3 to 6 hours to “re-train” your bladder.
- Know that consumption of diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and cough-cold preparations exacerbates urinary incontinence.
- Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily to prevent constipation.
- Stop smoking (nicotine irritates the bladder).
- A number of protective devices are available to help manage accidental urination, including the following:
- Bed pads, combination pad-pant systems, disposable or reusable adult diapers , full-length absorbent undergarments, male incontinence drip collectors, underwear liners (pads, guards, shields, inserts) should be applied correctly and changed often to prevent skin irritation and urinary tract infection.
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