Bladder Matters
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Prescribed medicines


If diet, lifestyle, bladder training and pelvic floor exercises are not enough, medicines can be prescribed.
For overactive bladder, or urge incontinence, a group of drugs called antimuscarinics, or anticholinergics can be used. There are various types and various doseage regimens. They work by producing a relaxant effect on the muscle around the bladder, (detrusor muscle) thus reducing the symptoms of frequency, nocturia, urgency and urge incontinence. Side effects can occur and include dry mouth (which can be helped by frequent sips of water or sucking a sugar-free pastille or ice), heartburn, dry eyes and constipation. Medication may take up to 12 weeks before it achieves full effect, although some people notice an improvement within seven days. If one type of drug does not suit or is unhelpful, then it is worth discussing this with your doctor and trying another one. Many people stop taking their medication because of side effects, or because they do not find it helps the symptoms, but being aware that treatment may take several weeks to work, and being prepared to try another one if side effects occur, can lead to better use of medication.

For stress incontinence, one drug is available which is thought to increase nerve activity to the pelvic floor thereby increasing contraction of the urethral sphincter and increasing closure pressure. It has been shown to reduce episodes of leaking but side effects may occur such as nausea, dry mouth, constipation and fatigue and its use is limited to people in whom pelvic floor exercises have not been helpful and surgery is not appropriate.

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