What are behavior modifications?

Premier Health’s Dr. Jerome Yaklic talks about behavioral modifications to treat urinary incontinence. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


Many people experience significant relief from symptoms of urinary incontinence through behavioral modifications and lifestyle changes.

The Office on Women’s Health and the National Institute on Aging identify five behavioral modifications commonly used to treat urinary incontinence.

  • Bladder (re)training
    The purpose of this behavioral modification is to delay voiding when you experience the urge to urinate. You begin by delaying the time between urge and voiding by 10 minutes and continue to lengthen the time until you are able to wait two to four hours between trips to the toilet.
  • Timed voiding
    People with overactive bladder (OAB) may benefit from going to the toilet on a timed schedule rather than when they feel an urge.
  • Fluid and diet management
    Alcohol, caffeine and acidic foods are known to exacerbate urinary incontinence, so avoiding them may help reduce symptoms. Reducing liquid consumption may also help.
  • Pelvic floor exercises
    Strengthening the Kegel muscles can reduce leakage caused by stress urinary incontinence. A doctor or nurse may instruct you how to properly work these muscles at first, but exercises can be done at home.
  • Lifestyle changes
    Because excess weight and smoking can increase the risk for developing urinary incontinence, losing weight and quitting smoking can help reduce symptoms.

For more information about behavior modifications for urinary incontinence treatment, talk to your doctor.

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