Urinary Incontinence

Lifestyle & Management

Lifestyle Changes

Changes that you can make to help control urinary incontinence (UI) include:

  • Cutting back on or avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Stopping smoking
  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese

Pads and Protective Garments

You may need to use pads or other protective garments for UI. It is important to change these when they get wet so that your skin does not become irritated. In some states, Medicaid may cover the cost of pads. Medicare and private insurance do not. Medical supply companies and patient advocacy groups publish illustrated catalogs to help people decide which products to select.

Skin Care

Frequent leakage of urine can irritate the surrounding skin and lead to sores and infections. You can protect your skin by using only mild soap and patting the skin gently to dry.  You may also want to consider using a barrier cream.

Home Safety  

If you have urge incontinence or nighttime incontinence, make a clear path to the bathroom by removing furniture or rugs that you might bump into or trip on. Use a nightlight to reduce the risk of falls. If you have trouble with walking or balance, consider a raised toilet seat and grab bars to make getting on and off the toilet easier.

Urinary incontinence is never normal, and like any new symptom, deserves to be treated and evaluated.
Last Updated November 2020