Treatments for Pelvic Floor Disorders
The following are common treatments prescribed for pelvic floor disorders:Expand All Collapse All
The best treatment for you will depend on the type of incontinence you have. Your symptoms, age, and any underlying problems that are found also affect your treatment.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking can lead to a chronic cough that strains pelvic floor muscles. Smoking may also damage the bladder and urethra.
- Losing weight: Excess weight puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. Exercising and eating right can help you lose weight. This helps other treatments work better.
- Making certain diet changes: Some foods may make you need to urinate more, so it may be good to avoid them. These include caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Ask your doctor whether these or other diet changes might be helpful.
Medication is mainly given for urge incontinence, but it may also help with stress incontinence. Your doctor will talk with you about your options. Make sure to ask what side effects to expect.
The following types of medications may be prescribed:
- Anticholinergics: may increase how much urine the bladder can hold. They may also help relax bladder muscles.
- Alpha-adrenergics: may help tighten the bladder neck and urethra.
- Estrogen: may help improve muscle tone in the urethra and bladder.
- Antibiotics: used to treat urinary tract infections.
Kegel exercises are exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that support the urethra, bladder, uterus, and rectum). They are also called pelvic floor muscle exercises. Kegel exercises are usually recommended for women who have urinary incontinence.
Doing Kegel exercises on a regular basis may provide you with these benefits:
- Stronger pelvic muscles
- Reduced urinary incontinence and leaking of urine
- Increased pleasure with sexual activity
Urethral implants are one method to help treat a weak sphincter. A bulking agent is implanted (injected) into your urethra. This may help close the sphincter. It can help restore most or all of your control over urine flow. This procedure is often done in the hospital. You will likely go home the same day.
- You will be given medication (anesthesia) to keep you from feeling pain. This may be one or more of the following:
- Local anesthesia to numb your urethra and bladder.
- Regional anesthesia to numb your body below the waist.
- General anesthesia to put you into a state like deep sleep.
- The doctor inserts a cystoscope (a thin, tubelike telescope) into your urethra. This instrument lets the doctor see the inside of your urethra.
- A needle is inserted (either through the cystoscope or along the outside of your urethra) into the sphincter area.
- The doctor injects a bulking agent through this needle into the wall of the urethra. This makes the wall of the urethra thicker. It then closes up. This stops urine from leaking out of the bladder. When you try to urinate, the wall moves apart to allow urine to flow.