Millions of people suffer from incontinence, a condition characterized by the involuntary loss of urine. Though there is a stigma associated with urinary incontinence, it is a common medical condition. The two most common types of urinary incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. There are many incontinence aids to help treat these conditions, including pads, adult diapers, medications, surgery and the use of exercises to strengthen the muscles that control the flow of urine.
Stress incontinence usually occurs when there has been some form of stress put on the bladder by an action or activity, such as sneezing, running, lifting. It is commonly seen in women who have had multiple vaginal births. For mild cases of stress incontinence, there are incontinence aids such as pads that are made to fit inside the underwear and absorb any urine that might escape the bladder. These come in several levels of absorbency and are similar and shape and size to menstrual pads. Adult diapers are similar incontinence aids that have proven to offer many people comfort and great protection.
Beyond diapers and pads, there are medical incontinence aids as well. There are many medications that can be taken by mouth that will help mild to reduce cases of stress incontinence and urge incontinence, a condition in which the person cannot make it to the restroom in time before the bladder lets go of urine. Another nonsurgical option is the use of Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that control the flow of urine.
For more severe cases, surgery can be one of the most successful incontinence aids. Many surgical procedures for incontinence, such as a urethral sling for women, are done in a doctor’s office on an outpatient basis. Another option is to have collagen injected into the base of the bladder, which helps to tighten the base of the bladder and makes it more difficult for the urine to escape. For women with a prolapsed bladder, or dropped bladder, there is the option of bladder suspension surgery. This is not done on an outpatient basis, however, because it is considered to be a major surgery.