Urge Incontinence in Women: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Urge incontinence occurs when the need to urinate is so strong that you cannot reach the toilet in time, even when your bladder contains only a small amount of urine. This is also called overactive bladder or unstable bladder. Some women may have no warning before they leak urine. This condition does not cause major health problems, but it can be embarrassing and can affect a woman's self-esteem and confidence.

Treatment can cure or improve your symptoms.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol-they stimulate urine production.
  • Urinate every 2 to 4 hours during waking hours, even if you feel that you do not have to go.
  • Do pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises, which tighten and strengthen pelvic muscles. To do Kegel exercises:
    • Squeeze the same muscles you would use to stop your urine. Your belly and thighs should not move.
    • Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds.
    • Start with 3 seconds. Then add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds.
    • Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times for each session. Do three or more sessions each day.
  • Try wearing pads that absorb the leaks.
  • Keep skin in the genital area dry.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of a urinary infection. For example:
    • You have blood or pus in your urine.
    • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
    • You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
    • It hurts to urinate.
    • You have groin or belly pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have a hard time urinating when your bladder feels full.
  • You feel like you need to urinate often.
  • Your bladder feels full even after you urinate.
  • Your symptoms are getting worse.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: October 13, 2016