Women with urinary incontinence: Hold off on taking medication.

Urinary incontinence occurs in 44 to 57 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60, and 75 percent of women over 75. While frustrating, incontinence does not necessarily require immediate medication. Kegel exercises, bladder training and weight loss (in some circumstances) are all effective ways women can treat incontinence

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has established new guidelines for treatment of two types of urinary incontinence (UI): stress UI, a loss of urine after laughing, coughing or sneezing; and urgency UI, a loss of urine after a sudden urge to urinate.

For stress-related UI, Kegel exercises are five times more effective than no treatment in improving symptoms. For women who have urgency UI, bladder training is recommended. This involves attempting to urinate on a set schedule. Drug treatments are only suggested if this does not work to improve symptoms, as medications are known to have side effects.

Some women who have a combination of stress and urgency UI are recommended to adopt Kegel exercises and bladder training into their daily routine, while the ACP recommends weight loss and exercise for obese women with UI.

Though it can be difficult to talk about, making an appointment with your physician is the best thing for determining UI treatment.