Ways of managing incontinence

Managing your incontinence

There are several other things that can help you to manage your incontinence. They may be useful for short periods (for example, during exercise or while you are waiting for a treatment to work), or if treatments have not worked or are not suitable for you. For example:

  • Your healthcare professional may suggest using absorbent products such as incontinence pants or pads, hand-held urinals (urine collection bottles) and toileting aids at the same time as treatment or if all possible treatments have not worked.

  • A catheter can be inserted into your bladder to drain the urine. Your healthcare professional should talk with you about the different types of catheter and what to expect if you have one.

  • Devices that are placed into your vagina or urethra may occasionally be useful for managing urine leakage, such as during exercise, but these should not be used regularly.

  • Hormones that are placed in your vagina, for example in cream or tablet form, might help women with overactive bladder who have been through the menopause.

If you find that you have to urinate often at night and this is causing you problems, you may be offered a drug called desmopressin. It shouldn't be used in people over 65 and your healthcare professional should make sure you understand the risks and benefits before you agree to it.

Off-label use of desmopressin

At the time of publication desmopressin may be recommended for 'off-label' use in this guideline. In the UK, medicines are licensed to show that they work well enough and are safe enough to be used for specific conditions and groups of people. Some medicines can also be helpful for conditions or people they are not specifically for. This is called 'off-label' use. Off-label use might also mean the medicine is taken at a different dose or in a different way to the license, such as using a cream or taking a tablet. There is more information about licensing medicines on NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1004.aspx?CategoryID=73&SubCategoryID=101)

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapies are not recommended for treating incontinence or overactive bladder.

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