Behavioral methods for urinary incontinence
Three types of behavioral methods are used to treat urinary incontinence: bladder training (for urge incontinence), timed voiding, and prompted voiding (for functional incontinence).
Bladder training (also called bladder retraining) is used to treat urge incontinence. Bladder training attempts to increase how long you can wait before having to urinate. You are taught about the structure of the lower urinary tract and the causes of incontinence.
A schedule for urinating is established, and you are trained to resist the first urge to urinate and to refrain from urinating until the scheduled time. The interval between scheduled bathroom visits is increased until you can refrain from urinating for several hours.
Timed voiding (also called habit training) is used to treat functional incontinence. It sets a schedule for urinating (voiding) that is determined by your personal habits and does not attempt to increase how long you can wait before having to urinate or to teach you to resist the urge to urinate.
Prompted voiding is used to treat functional incontinence. It trains a caregiver to prompt the incontinent person to urinate. The intention is to decrease the chance of accidents by making the incontinent person aware of the need to urinate periodically. Prompted voiding is usually used in combination with timed voiding for people who are insufficiently aware of their bodily functions, such as people who have dementia.
What To Expect After Treatment
These methods are often successful in eliminating or decreasing urinary incontinence.
Why It Is Done
Behavioral methods may be used to treat:
- Urge incontinence (using bladder training).
- Functional incontinence (using timed and prompted voiding).
How Well It Works
- Bladder training does not work well for everyone, but some people benefit significantly.
- Many people who use bladder training have fewer symptoms of incontinence. For some people, the incontinence completely disappears.
Timed voiding reduces the frequency of incontinence accidents in the majority of the people who use this method.
People who use prompted voiding generally have 1 to 2 fewer incontinence accidents per day.
What To Think About
Behavioral methods such as bladder training require a high level of motivation.
Successful prompted voiding requires a committed caregiver.
Bladder training is often more successful than medicine in the treatment of urge incontinence.