Pill-free treatment for urinary incontinence

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Published: July, 2019

Here's some relief for people with urinary incontinence who don't want to take pills to treat the problem: behavioral therapy (bladder training) works better for urinary incontinence than medication, according to a study published online March 18, 2019, by Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed 84 randomized trials of women (average age 55). The studies evaluated 14 categories of incontinence treatments, including pill-free therapy and medications such as anticholinergic drugs — for example, oxybutynin (Ditropan). Most of the strategies (except taking hormones or getting injections of a bulking agent near the urethra) were more effective than doing nothing to treat incontinence. But for both stress incontinence (the kind that makes you leak when you laugh) and urge incontinence (the kind that makes you rush to the bathroom), behavioral therapy was the most effective treatment, beating medications and neuromodulation (electrical stimulation of the nerves that control the bladder). The catch: it takes practice to make behavioral therapy effective. But it may be worth the effort, since medications for incontinence often have side effects.

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