It struck me odd, when listening to a CE course on the medication management of urinary incontinence in older adults, that the authors spat out the statistics that “non-drug methods reduce the number of incontinence episodes by over 50% and that the combination of medications and non-drug methods result in about a 60% reduction”, that being loosely quoted since it was about 1998 when I heard that statement. I kept rewinding the cassette, yes it was 1998, and kept playing that part of the CE program over and over because it struck me odd that non-drug methods are so effective, yet the marketing of these drugs is so prevalent. It told me that everyone with incontinence should make every effort to use non-drug methods BEFORE using medications that are wrought with side-effects that can affect function and quality of life.
More recent data in a comparison study by AHRQ (Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality) show clearly that non-drug methods are superior to medications. (You can refer to my previous post by clicking on the link which takes you to the AHRQ review: http://elderdrugs.com/2012/04/non-surgical-treatments-for-urinary-incontinence-ahrq-reviews-the-evidence/) So if non-drug methods are quite effective, yet drugs can cause side-effects such as: dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, memory loss, heart palpitations, blurred vision, then how does one learn about the non-drug methods? The following link takes you to the National Institute of Aging Age Page on urinary incontinence, which is for the lay person, the older adult, and perhaps the caregiver, and describes how to begin your successful journey to managing your bladder health without potentially harmful medications. http://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/UrinaryPartsAPfinalproof_0.pdf