There are many natural treatments available for urinary incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB). Your symptoms can be eased through a developmental approach. Behavioral techniques and natural treatments for urinary incontinence and OAB have almost no harmful effects and are relatively inexpensive. Scheduling regular visits with your physical therapist, doctor or other health care provider to monitor your progress is essential.
Behavioral therapy uses a “mind over bladder” approach, focuses on retraining your bladder to be controlled by your brain. A bladder diary is very helpful to keep over a 24-hour period so that you can see often you are visiting the bathroom to urinate (void). Monitoring your fluid intake can help. To be aware of your symptoms, note your activity level when you have leakage.
Training your bladder is also known as timed voiding. This reestablishes a healthy voiding pattern by gradually increasing the amount of time in between your visits to the bathroom. For instance, if you void every hour, the goal would be to stretch it gradually (approximately 5-10 minutes per week or every two weeks until your bathroom visits are at least every two to every three hours while awake).
Use diversion techniques to stretch your voiding intervals. Focus on another activity or area of your body if you are attempting to hold your need to urinate. Concentrating on deep breathing rather than on your bladder can help. Continue to do so until the urge to void diminishes. Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) strengthen your pelvic floor and urethral sphincter. They also reduce stress incontinence and quiet those unwanted bladder contractions (urge incontinence.)
This article was written by Jill Rabin, MD, urogynecologist at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY