Other Treatments and Therapies
Acupuncture: Although few studies have been undertaken, it is believed that for some sufferers acupuncture may be beneficial.
Pumpkin Seeds: They are high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids which are powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
Magnesium: Taken at night is thought to help urgency/leakage at night by controlling bladder spasms.
Alarms: To help prevent nocturnal enuresis (night time leakage). The patient can wear a body alarm to train them to wake before leakage occurs.
Surgery: This is sometimes suggested where other treatments have proved to be ineffective and needs to be thoroughly discussed with your consultant or medical practitioner. Bladder Health UK operates a “friends group” for those contemplating possible surgery.
Bladder Retraining: A continence nurse or women’s physiotherapist can advise. The patient completes a bladder diary and is then instructed to gradually increase the length of time between emptying the bladder (voiding).
Pelvic Floor Exercises: These exercises are usually taught by a women’s physiotherapist and involve repeated contractions of the pelvic floor muscles. The muscles can be weakened by some prostate gland surgery, constipation, heavy lifting, chronic cough, being overweight, lack of general fitness, pregnancy or childbirth and changes in hormone levels during the menopause.
Simple instructions for pelvic floor exercises
First Identify the Pelvic Floor Muscles
- Relax the muscles of your thighs, bottom and stomach.
- Tighten the muscle around the back passage (anus) as if you are trying to control diarrhoea.
- Practice this several times until you are sure you are exercising the right muscles. A women’s physiotherapist can help ensure you are using the correct muscles. If you find this difficult to do then inferential therapy (IFT) can help by using an electrical current to do the exercise for you until your muscles are strong enough to perform pelvic exercise on your own.
- Strengthening your pelvic floor can take a while but the results can be positive in helping to reduce frequency and leakage.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
- You need to tighten and draw up the muscles around the anus and urethra (and vagina for women) all at once, lifting them up inside. Attempt to hold onto this for five seconds (gradually increasing to ten seconds), then relax.
- Repeat the above and relax for at least ten seconds between each contraction.
- Repeat as many times as possible up to a maximum of ten.
- Go on to do between five and ten short, fast but strong contractions.
- Repeat this four to five times a day.
- Do not hold your breath or push down as opposed to lifting up. Try not to tighten your tummy, bottom or thighs.