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Medical Incontinence Treatment

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Medical incontinence treatment depends on your bladder symptoms

The medications listed below are just an example of the wide range of pharmacological treatments available for incontinence. Your health care professional will be able to advise on their suitability for you and other possible options.

For symptoms of urinary frequency & urgency

  • “Antimuscurinic” or “Anticholinergic” medicines may be prescribed. These work by calming the detrusor muscle in the bladder, which gives the person extra holding time. Most people tolerate this type of medication well; the most common side effect is a dry mouth.
  • Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS) offers an alternative treatment for urinary urgency and is an option for those who are unable to tolerate medication. It involves a series of treatments; a fine acupuncture type needle is inserted into the ankle to stimulate the tibial nerve, which has the effect of calming an overactive bladder.

For nocturia or bed wetting at night

  • Vasopressin is a synthetic hormone that is sometimes prescribed to help reduce nocturia (getting up at night to pass urine) or nocturnal enuresis (wetting the bed). This hormone is normally produced by the pituitary gland in the brain and helps to reduce the amount of urine produced at night. Vasopressin is not suitable for the elderly or those with heart conditions.

For urinary tract infection (UTI)

  • A 3 day course of antibiotics is usually prescribed for a UTI. Recurrent or complicated infections may need a longer course of antibiotics and referral to the hospital for investigations.

For stress incontinence

  • Duloxetine is a drug that is licensed for the treatment of stress incontinence. It is also licensed for the treatment of depression. It increases the activity of the bladder neck sphincter and in studies was shown to improve stress incontinence for some women. However the side effects of nausea and vomiting cause many women to stop taking it.

For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer

  • Alpha – blockers are used to treat BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia). They work by relaxing the smooth muscle at the bladder neck, and help to improve the flow of urine.
  • 5-Alpha reductase inhibitors are used to treat BPH by reducing the size of the prostate gland. There are two: finasteride and dutasteride. These work by blocking the conversion of the hormone testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the prostate.
  • Hormone therapy treats prostate cancer by stopping the hormone testosterone from reaching the prostate cancer cells and it can keep it under control for many months or years.

If you are unsure which bladder symptoms you are experiencing, please see the links below:

Or, for other incontinence treatment options:

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