10 Simple Ways to Manage Urinary Incontinence
Despite its reputation as a “senior problem”, urinary incontinence can strike men and women of all ages for a multitude of reasons including infections, prostate cancer, or neurological disorders. Anything from a cough, sneeze, or laugh can cause an accidental leakage, which may prevent an individual from joining in with social activities and enjoying their life to the fullest.
Here are 10 simple steps you can try to avoid any embarrassing incidents and manage your urinary incontinence:
1. Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for holding back your bladder’s contents, so it’s important to realize that you can strengthen these tissues much like any other muscle group. Known as kegels, this exercise is performed by contracting the area, then releasing, repeating the motion over and over again. Best of all, you can carry out these actions wherever you are without anyone noticing, so set some daily reminders and start squeezing.
2. Lose Weight
Any excess of fatty tissue can place unnecessary pressure on the bladder, forever pushing the urine towards the exit. Shedding those additional pounds is beneficial for a great number of health reasons, which is why you should cut down on the sugar, snack on fruit or vegetables, and exercise as much as you can.
3. Less Coffee and Alcohol
Caffeine is forever mentioned whenever incontinence comes up in conversation, but truthfully, there are many other bladder irritants to look out for, such as carbonated drinks, fruit juices, and tomato-based products. Another liquid enemy to keep an eye on would be that of alcohol as this is a diuretic, meaning it produces more urine and fills up the bladder much faster. Not to mention, the intoxication effect also hinders your judgment when you need it the most!
4. Drink Water
This suggestion may appear counterintuitive on paper, but constant hydration helps to flush away urinary tract infections while potentially increasing general bladder capacity. Furthermore, water dilutes your urine, which lessens the chance of any adverse reactions. Stick to the standard six to eight glasses a day unless your doctor has advised otherwise.
5. Be Prepared for Emergencies
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if you’re struck by a sudden release of urine, then you need to have a plan. Keep a spare set of underwear at work, always favor darker colors made from absorbent material, and ensure your chosen outfit is easy to remove just in case. If your sleep is often disturbed by the sudden need to visit the toilet, keep a clear path to the bathroom, and consider a bedside commode if mobility is difficult for you.
6. Beat the Urge
Keep a diary to evaluate how regular your bathroom stopovers are, and then try to schedule them into your day. Build a habit of visiting the toilet whenever you first arrive at a new establishment, and just before you leave in order to avoid any outside attacks. If you happen to walk past a bathroom at any point, you might as well use it.
7. Quit Smoking
By now you’ve heard an extensive list of reasons why you should quit cigarettes, so here is yet another point to add. Smoking places a strain on your pelvic floor muscles while damaging your blood vessels and weakening the tissue all around your body. Smoking is also devastating to the lungs, which may lead to coughing, a reflex action known to aggravate these urinary incontinence incidents. If you need some help to kick the habit, please click here.
8. The Correct Exercises
Certain high-impact exercises (such as jogging or jumping) can really jolt your pelvic area and induce undesirable accidents. Similarly, sit-ups have been known to squash the bladder into uncomfortable positions too. Look at replacing these activities with less intensive varieties, such as swimming, cycling, pilates, and yoga.
9. Avoid Heavy Lifting
If you suffer from urinary incontinence, it is in your best interest to ask for help when it comes to lifting heavy items, as they can force pressure onto your organs and result in some leakage. If the task at hand is unavoidable (such as moving shopping bags or lifting your child into the car) get into the practice of tightening up your muscles moments before you execute this move.
10. Talk to Your Doctor
For some, urinary incontinence can severely impact their quality of life, and if this is the case for you, then it’s best to speak to a professional about your options. There are medications available which block specific neurotransmitters from firing when your bladder isn’t full (otherwise known as acetylcholine), and if that doesn’t work, certain reported surgical procedures have up to an 80% success rate.