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Bladder Retraining for Incontinence

Dr. Alan Sadah

An experienced urologist, Dr. Alan Sadah practices at Metro Chicago Surgical Oncology and is on staff at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Kindred Hospital, St. Alexius Medical Center, Westlake Hospital, and West Suburban Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Alan Sadah recently shared his expertise in a Chicago Health article regarding bladder retraining.

As we age, the bladder commonly becomes less able to hold urine. Pressure on the abdomen or a sudden movement can cause leakage. Bladder retraining can offer many people relief from urinary incontinence.
In bladder retraining, a person may be able to improve the function of the muscles used in urinating. For many people, this begins with recording in a diary each time they feel the urge to go and each time they leak. This information can help patients make timed visits to the bathroom.
Bladder retraining may also involve the gradual delaying of urination. After feeling the urge to use the bathroom, the person tries to wait five minutes, using distraction or relaxation techniques if necessary. By adding time to this wait, a person can often extend the time between bathroom visits.
Many people also benefit from strengthening the pelvic floor muscles using “Kegel” exercises, which tighten and relax the muscles involved in urinary control. A person may need to enhance these activities of bladder retraining with hydration modifications, such as drinking less liquid before bedtime and reducing the intake of caffeinated beverages.

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