Health Questions and Answers

Question: How are the four types of urinary incontinence treated?


  • Stress incontinence: pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises, alpha-adrenergic agonists, estrogen, biofeedback, behavioral training, periurethral injections, surgical bladder neck suspension.
  • Urge incontinence: bladder relaxants, estrogen (if vaginal atrophy is present), training procedures (e.g., biofeedback, behavioral therapy), surgical removal of obstructing or other irritating pathologic lesions.
  • Overflow incontinence: surgical removal of obstruction, intermittent catheterization (if practical), bladder retraining, indwelling catheterization.
  • Functional incontinence: behavioral therapies (e.g., habit training, scheduled toileting), environmental manipulations, incontinence undergarments and pads, external collection devices, bladder relaxants (selected patients), indwelling catheters (selected patients).Reference: Kane RL, et al: Essentials of Clinical Geriatrics, 5th ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2004. 

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