Advice relating to specific types of bladder weakness

In Types we we describe some of the most common kinds of bladder weakness people experience and in this section we share professional tips to help with those specific types. However, if you are unsure of your type, we do advise that you talk to a healthcare professional who will usually be able to give you a diagnosis from asking a few simple questions

What will they ask?

They’ll usually just ask about the history of your bladder weakness, for example whether it is triggered by specific actions such as coughing or sneezing and about any treatments or medications that may have affected your bladder. They will probably undertake a brief examination and ask you to supply a urine sample for testing. They may well ask you to keep a diary, recording when you urinate over the course of a week, to help identify patterns or trigger points. In fact you may find it helpful to keep a diary a week before your first appointment then you will have all this information immediately to hand. You can download a diary form here.

Help with Urge Incontinence

Sometimes referred to as an overactive bladder, as the name suggests this is when you get a sudden and unstoppable need ‘to go’ and is the most common type for men.

The first step is to look and see if a few simple, lifestyle changes can make a positive difference

Keep drinking


You may be tempted to reduce the amount of fluid you drink, but this can make your urine more concentrated, aggravating the bladder and making it more active. We recommend that you drink as normal responding to your natural thirst. This should be enough to keep the urine a healthy, pale straw colour. As you might expect, drinking too much will just increase the urge to ’go’ so just try and keep a healthy balance.

Party Drinks

Life’s for living and bladder weakness should never force you to curb your pleasures! However, you need to be aware that caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks are diuretics which will make you visit the toilet more.

Make access to the toilet easy

Sometimes it is easy to miss the obvious. When you have the sudden urge to go, the last thing you want is an obstacle race to the toilet or a struggle with your clothes. So make sure you make access to your toilet easy and avoid fiddly clothing with awkward fastenings.

Bladder Retaining

With this type of incontinence, the next thing to try is bladder retraining which can work in up to 50% of cases. This is where you encourage your bladder to hold larger amounts of urine for longer and reduce the number of times you actually urinate. You do this by holding off ‘going’ for as long as possible to stop your bladder ‘exaggerating’ the need to go even when it is only half full. It tends to get easier over time.

Could exercise help?

Pelvic floor exercises, which improve bladder support and pelvic floor muscle strength, are more commonly used for Stress Incontinence but have been found to help in some cases of Urge incontinence. To find out more visit the exercise area

Medical Devices

The most commonly used medical devices for a weak bladder are absorbent incontinence products. They are especially designed to protect against urine leakage and odours and come in a range of sizes and absorbency levels. Click here to learn more about the benefits of incontinence protection.

In certain cases some other devices may be recommended such as catheters and male condom or sheath devices which can help reduce the flow and capture any leakage. These need to be fitted by a healthcare specialist. The insertion of a catheter with a portable drainage bag may be use as a temporary measure, particularly if your incontinence is the result of other surgery from which you are recuperating.

Drugs and surgery

Urge Incontinence is sometimes known as an overactive bladder and there are some medicines that can help reduce the bladder’s overactivity but surgical solutions are rare. For details on medication it is best to consult a continence specialist or urologist.

Help with male Stress Incontinence

The first step is to look and see if a few simple, lifestyle changes can make a positive difference

Keep drinking

You may be tempted to reduce the amount of fluid you drink, but this can make your urine more concentrated, aggravating the bladder and making it more active. We recommend that you drink as normal responding to your natural thirst. This should be enough to keep the urine a healthy, pale straw colour. As you might expect, drinking too much will just increase the urge to ’go’ so just try and keep a healthy balance.

Party Drinks

Life’s for living and bladder weakness should never force you to curb your pleasures! However, you need to be aware that caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks are diuretics which will make you visit the toilet more.

Weight Management

There is a link between being overweight and incontinence. So, if you have ambitions to lose a little weight, this might be an incentive to start.

If you’re a smoker

Actually it’s not the smoking itself that causes bladder weakness but the associated coughing that can put pressure on the bladder. So perhaps that’s another reason to think about quitting?

Exercising (without the sweat)

Bladder control can often be improved by pelvic floor exercises, particularly after prostate surgery, so this kind of physiotherapy is generally regarded as the first treatment for Stress Incontinence. In fact, up to 70% of mild to moderate cases can be improved or even cured by regular and correct pelvic floor exercises over 3 to 6 months but remember, you have to keep up the exercise to make the effects last. These exercises work by re-establishing control over the muscles that keep the urethra shut. It’s never too late to start – even in your 70s and 80s you could improve your symptoms. For a step-by-step guide to pelvic floor exercises, visit the exercise area.

A specialist may recommend techniques such as Biofeedback and electrical stimulation to help carry out these physiotherapy exercises properly.

Bladder retraining

Bladder retraining is often used in combination with pelvic floor exercises particularly after prostate surgery. This is where you encourage your bladder to hold larger amounts of urine for longer and reduce the number of times you actually urinate. You do this by holding off ‘going’ for as long as possible to stop your bladder ‘exaggerating’ the need to go even when it is only half full. It tends to get easier over time.

Medical Devices

The most commonly used medical devices for a weak bladder are absorbent incontinence products. They are especially designed to protect against urine leakage and odours and come in a range of sizes and absorbency levels. Click here to learn more about the benefits of incontinence protection.

In certain cases some other devices may be recommended, such as catheters and male condom or sheath devices which help reduce the flow and capture any leakage. These need to be fitted by a healthcare specialist. The insertion of a catheter with a portable drainage bag may be use as a temporary measure, particularly if your incontinence is the result of other surgery from which you are recuperating.

Drugs and surgery

In certain countries there are certain prescription drugs used for the treatment of Stress Incontinence and in some cases your urologist or urogynaecologist may consider surgical procedures. For details on these it is best to consult a continence specialist or urologist.

Help with Mixed Incontinence

The best advice for Mixed Incontinence is to concentrate on the most dominant symptoms and try and manage these first. You could start by doing pelvic floor exercises for Stress Incontinence or bladder retraining for Urge Incontinence. Then once your main symptoms improve, begin dealing with the other symptoms.

Help with Post-micturation Dribble

Also known as ‘post dribble’, this is a slight dribble that some men experience after urinating. It can be managed with a combination of pelvic floor exercises and a technique known as urethral milking. Place the fingers of one hand several centimetres behind the scrotum and move them up towards the base of the penis. This will help remove any remaining urine.

Help with Overflow

This is a constant or episodic flow of urine, usually caused by an obstruction or nerve damage. If you’re experiencing this, it’s probably best to get it checked out by your Doctor, as they are the best people to diagnose this type of incontinence. Using incontinence protection will contain any leaks and prevent odours keeping you fresh and comfortable.

Help with Functional Incontinence

If a physical or mental disability prevents you from getting to a toilet in time, it is not your fault and it is important not to let this cause stress and anxiety. There is little that can be done medically in these circumstances but you can minimise the impact of any accidents by using incontinence protection.  This will ensure you’ll always be confident that any escaped urine will be completely contained and you’ll stay fresh, dry and comfortable.

Make reaching the toilet easy

When you have the sudden urge to go, the last thing you want is an obstacle race to the toilet or a struggle with your clothes. So make sure you make access to your toilet easy and avoid fiddly clothing with awkward fastenings.

Help with Neurological Incontinence

Unfortunately this is hard to treat but incontinence protection will ensure it doesn’t have an unnecessary impact on your everyday living.

Why not find the right product for you and order a free sample with the help of our product finder?