4 Medications That Can Cause or Worsen Incontinence

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If you are showing signs of urinary incontinence or if your kidney to reduce blood pressure by flushing excess water and salt out of the body.

“If you take your diuretic, you are making more urine,” says David Ginsberg, MD, a urologist and associate professor of clinical urology at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

That translates to more bathroom visits and a worsening of incontinence symptoms, he says.

“If you need the diuretic, you need it,” says Ginsberg. But he recommends you pay more attention to the recommended incontinence treatments, following your doctor’s instructions to the letter.

That may mean paying more attention to doing your Kegel exercises, designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Weakened pelvic floor muscles are often the cause of a common type of urinary incontinence called sleep. “If someone needs a little something to help them go to , an antihistamine, like Benadryl, can be helpful,” Appell says.

Paying attention to lifestyle can help, too. “Exercise so you will be tired,” Appell suggests.

Sleep will come more easily if you keep a regular and wake-up schedule, according to the National Sleep Foundation. You can also develop a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as reading a book or listening to soothing music.

How to Talk About Urinary Incontinence

Bringing up the topic of urinary problems with your doctor or your spouse is never easy; most people are at least a bit embarrassed. But open communication can help you find out about the causes of incontinence and whether your medications may be contributing.

One good opener might be something like this: “I have been having bladder troubles.”

If you will be visiting a new doctor, and have not yet selected him or her, you might seek out a doctor of the same sex, if you think that would help you feel more comfortable. Or, you might bring up the topic first with your doctor’s nurse.

Preparing for the conversation about urinary incontinence may help you feel more in control. That means being able to answer the questions your doctor is likely to ask, including:

  • When did your urinary incontinence symptoms begin?
  • Have you had urinary incontinence symptoms before?
  • What medications are you on, and when did you start each of them?

You may find it easier to talk about incontinence if you acknowledge it as a medical condition that needs treatment, just as high blood pressure, arthritis, or high cholesterol does. Treatment options are plentiful, and nearly everyone can be helped so that symptoms, if they don’t abate, improve.