Are you embarrassed by frequent visits to the bathroom? Don’t assume you are alone in dealing with this dilemma – far from it! If you are starting to carefully consider where and when you should be going out, or planning for long trips and avoiding certain activities, then this article is for you.
First of all, consult your physician. He or she will ask questions to help determine which type of urinary incontinence you’re experiencing – stress incontinence, urge incontinence, mixture of both, or less commonly, overflow incontinence or overactive bladder.
Urinary incontinence can also be a persistent condition caused by underlying physical problems or changes including, menopause, prostate cancer, pregnancy, obstruction (such as a tumor) and change in weight or age. The bladder muscles may simply weaken due to these problems. Certain foods or drinks can tax the bladder especially at night when the urge to get up numerous times will result in a poor night’s sleep. Specifically, drinks such as coffee and tea should be limited as they put a lot of stress on the bladder. Not only limit the quantity but also be mindful of the time of day. Anything in the early evening or onward should be avoided.
Activities such as sneezing, laughing or coughing trigger the urge to urinate or may cause a slight leakage. When in a group setting, these triggers should be carefully considered and managed to ensure you avoid embarrassing situations.
Everyone will benefit from the steps below to avoid urinary stress, urge and incontinence.
1. Improve the muscle tone of your Pelvic floor: Walk, sit and move using a strong postural positioning. Lift up from the lower pelvic floor, and tighten those muscles
2. Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles before you sneeze or cough. A chronic cough may weaken the muscle tone of the pelvic floor.
3. Exercise the lower abdominal muscles by performing bridges, and other isometric exercises utilizing the internal muscles around the bladder.
4. See a physio therapist to design a set program such as the Beyond Kegels, which is a new set of exercises developed for the pelvic floor. These are especially helpful for new
mothers, and women with uterine prolapse. Men can certainly benefit from these exercises as well.
5. Maintain a healthy weight and eat more fibre which can prevent constipation, also a cause of urinary incontinence.
6. Avoid bladder irritants such as caffeine, alcohol and acidic foods
Urinary incontinence isn’t always preventable but you can certainly decrease the risk! Don’t let urinary incontinence or frequent urinating limit your lifestyle.
Written by Johanna Booy, of Care & Company Ltd., SeniorCareVictoria.ca.