Bowel Retraining

fiber rich diet for bowel retraining

Adding fiber and fluids to your diet is the first step in a bowel retraining treatment plan.

Bowel retraining is about having consistent or regular bowel movements.  Having regular bowel movements is crucial to obtaining fecal continence and restoring control over your bowels.  Continue reading

Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX®) Injections

doctor writing prescription for BOTOX

You and your doctor need to decide together if trying BOTOX is right for you.

Botulinum toxin (commonly called BOTOX®) is often used in cosmetic procedures.  BOTOX is also a relatively new treatment for severe urge incontinence that has not responded to medical therapy.  It is also for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB) with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency.  It is only for use in adults who have had an inadequate response to, or are intolerant of, anticholinergic medication. In this treatment, BOTOX is injected directly into the bladder muscle, relaxing it and allowing the bladder to fill with more urine before the urge to urinate strikes.Continue reading

Bladder Retraining for Urinary Incontinence

bladder retraining timed intervals

Bladder retraining incorporates going to the bathroom at set times.

The first goal of bladder retraining for your urinary incontinence symptoms is to empty your bladder before you leak. The second goal is to begin to train your bladder to hold more urine for longer periods of time. Bladder training is usually safe, but you should see a health care provider to make sure that you don’t have a bladder infection before starting bladder retraining.Continue reading

Biofeedback Therapy for Incontinence

biofeedback is a loop

Biofeedback provides you with immediate information about how well you are performing pelvic floor exercises.

Biofeedback is used to treat many conditions such as headaches, high blood pressure, and incontinence. Biofeedback helps you learn how to control certain functions in the body. You can get information from a computer that translates your body functions into pictures or numbers to help you learn to how to improve your muscle control.Continue reading

Avoiding Bladder Irritants

citrus fruits may be bladder irritants

Citrus fruits may be bladder irritants for some people – but not everyone.

There are a number of foods and drinks that most people eat or drink every day that can irritate the lining of your bladder.  We call these bladder irritants.  These foods and drinks may cause people with sensitive bladders to have to go to the bathroom more often and need to get to the bathroom sooner.  Sometimes this may cause incontinence.

An easy way to check if any food or drink is causing bladder problems is to do a special diet, called an “elimination diet”. Stop eating and drinking all the foods and drinks listed in our “10 Bladder Irritants You Can Avoid” below for two weeks. Also take out any other foods or drinks that you think may be causing a problem.Continue reading

Artificial Sphincter Surgery for Urinary Incontinence

male artificial sphincter

Drawing of  a male artificial sphincter to control urination.

Everyone has a pelvic floor: it is a hammock of muscles that lies in your pelvis, supporting the organs (bowel, bladder, and – in women – the uterus) in that area and keeping them in the correct place. In your pelvic floor are a few muscles that are called “sphincters”. There is an internal and external sphincter surrounding the urethra (the tube that takes urine from the bladder out of your body). These urinary sphincters naturally contract around the urethra and keep urine inside your body until you relax the sphincters at a socially-acceptable time (generally when you’re using a toilet). As the urge to urinate increases, you can voluntarily increase the contraction of your sphincters to gain more control.Continue reading

Artificial Sphincter Surgery for Bowel Incontinence

external sphincter muscle squeezing

This shows the external sphincter muscle properly squeezing and keeping fecal matter inside until he proper time.

Everyone has a pelvic floor: it is a hammock of muscles that lies in your pelvis, supporting your internal organs in that area (bowel, bladder, and – in women – the uterus) and keeping them in the correct place. In your pelvic floor are a few muscles that are called “sphincters”.  There is an internal and external sphincter surrounding the anus. These anal sphincter muscles naturally contract around the rectum and keep the fecal matter inside your body until you relax the sphincters at a socially-acceptable time (generally when you’re using a toilet).  As the urge to defecate increases, you can contract (or squeeze) your sphincters to gain more control.  When you cannot control these sphincter muscles, bowel incontinence (also called accidental bowel leakage or fecal incontinence) may happen.

Surgery to implant an artificial sphincter involves placing an inflatable sphincter around the anus. A pump (placed inside the body in the labia or scrotum) is used to deflate the device, allowing fecal matter to pass through at the appropriate time. The device automatically refills after ten minutes, once again closing off the rectum.Continue reading

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture being performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist

Interest in acupuncture and acupressure are growing as people with incontinence (bowel or urinary) seek treatment options in complementary and alternative forms of medicine. Most people with incontinence would prefer not to have surgery or take drugs, if at all possible.

Acupuncture and acupressure for incontinence are based on ancient Chinese Medicine, which designates incontinence to be a deficiency of energy. In Chinese Medicine urinary incontinence is due to a deficiency of kidney or, occasionally, urinary bladder energy, so acupressure and acupuncture treatments work on nourishing and supporting these energetic pathways. The bladder and anal sphincters also need a lot of energy to perform correctly. Likewise with bowel incontinence, acupuncture attempts to restore strength to the anal sphincter.Continue reading

Adult Absorbent Incontinence Products

Adult absorbent incontinence products

A few examples of adult absorbent incontinence products for incontinence.

Adult absorbent incontinence products refers to a category of products that absorb urine (and some absorb feces), including what most people refer to as “adult diapers”. These products are either disposable or reusable (they can be washed and used again). They are designed for both men and women of all ages and sizes. In addition to disposable or reusable products, there are a variety of different types of absorbent products, including “panty liner” styles, full briefs (pull-on or pull-up styles), and booster pads (placed as a liner inside of a brief). Adult absorbent products are not a treatment for incontinence, but a way to manage incontinence during treatments, during recovery from surgery or an illness, or until a treatment can be found.
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