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Functional incontinence


Diagnosis and treatment of functional incontinence continued...

Often, simple behavioural treatments that help other forms of incontinence can be helpful for reducing accidents caused by functional incontinence as well. These treatments include:

Bladder training: this technique involves scheduling the amount of time between trips to the toilet. You'll initially start by going every two hours. If you feel the need to go between trips, you should stand or sit still, contract the pelvic muscles and concentrate on making the urge to urinate go away. Once the urge is under control, you can go to the bathroom and urinate. After you have stayed dry for two days, you should slowly increase intervals until you are able to go three to four hours without using the toilet.

Pelvic floor exercises: pelvic floor exercises, also called Kegel exercises, strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and urethra to prevent leakage. To do pelvic floor exercises you should focus on isolating your pelvic muscles, so that contractions are in these muscles. To learn how to do pelvic floor exercises, go to the bathroom and urinate. Halfway through, try to stop the stream of urine. This will help you identify the muscles you need to contract. Once you identify the muscles, do not practise while urinating. Do the exercises for about five minutes at a time three times a day as you go about your day. After a few weeks to a month you should start to notice some improvement. Practising pelvic floor exercises may be helpful in preventing accidents as you try to get to a toilet.

In addition to doing specific exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, walking can be helpful because it improves your sense that the bladder is filling. This may enable you to recognise the need to urinate and head towards the toilet before it's too late.

Scheduled, timed or prompted voiding: This involves setting a schedule for trips to the toilet. If you make regular trips to the toilet, you may be less likely to have to go in a hurry. In nursing homes, scheduled or prompted voiding can be helpful for people with dementia, who may not recognise when they need to use the toilet. Bathroom trips can be planned for times when the person’s bladder is likely to be full.

Although these methods require motivation and effort, for many people with functional incontinence, they can make the difference between having accidents and staying dry.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 23, 2014

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