There are a number of effective medications available to treat urge incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
(Medications aren’t used to treat Stress Incontinence. See Surgery)
However, before medication is prescribed, most health care practitioners will recommend lifestyle changes such as reducing the intake of caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol, consulting a professional to help retrain the bladder and ensuring there’s sufficient water intake.
If that still hasn’t improved the issue, there are some medications that may be prescribed. Here is some information on the three most common.
- Anticholinergics. This group of drugs block the chemical messenger (the acetylcholine) that signals the brain to trigger abnormal bladder contractions. These contractions can be the cause of an overactive bladder, creating the urge to urinate even though the bladder isn’t full. There are about half a dozen different medications, with different names, that fall into the category of anticholinergics.
- Mirabegron relaxes the bladder muscle and can increase the amount of urine it can hold. Because it affects the muscle, it may also increase the volume when voiding by emptying the bladder more completely.
- OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox), works in two ways; it blocks the actions of acetylcholine (see above) and paralyses the overactive bladder muscle. It may be helpful where other medications haven’t been effective.
Other medications may also be prescribed depending on the individual case.
Pelvic Floor Exercising
Supports and helps control bladder and bowel function. Strengthening the pelvic floor can improve most types of incontinence and in some cases, even resolve it altogether.