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What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is a common problem and occurs when you pass urine without meaning to.
There are different types of incontinence, including stress incontinence when your bladder leaks when it's under pressure, like when you cough or laugh; urge incontinence is when there is a sudden leaking of urine, followed by an intense urge to empty your bladder.
Overflow incontinence is when you can’t fully empty your bladder, resulting in leaking, while total incontinence is when you can’t store any urine at all, causing you to frequently use the toilet or experiencing leaking.
It's also possible to have a mixture of different types.
Are incontinence pads available on prescription?
You may be able to get incontinence pads and other equipment to help manage your symptoms depending on the severity of your bladder incontinence.
You should book an appointment with your GP or other healthcare professional so they can assess you and see if you’re eligible for a free NHS prescription.
What are the treatment options for bladder weakness?
The options you have to treat bladder weakness depend on the type of incontinence you have and how serious your symptoms are.
Treatments that don’t require medicines or surgery are tried first, such as lifestyle changes, bladder training and pelvic floor muscle training, also known as Kegel exercises.
If these treatments don’t work, your doctor may wish to discuss surgery options with you, but these are usually the last resort.
What are the best incontinence products?
One of the best and most popular products used for incontinence are absorbent pads that are worn inside of the underwear to absorb leaked urine.
They have the same material as babies’ nappies, so your skin stays dry.
There are different types of incontinence pads, ones for mild to moderate leakage, and ones if you suffer from severe leakage.
You can also get incontinence bedding and washable bed pads that are placed on top of the mattress to soak up any leaked urine - they’re also useful for any trips away from home.