5 Tips For Managing Daily Incontinence
If you’re dealing with incontinence issues, from overactive bladder to full or partial loss of bladder control, you are not alone. It’s estimated that more than 25 million people experience regular urinary incontinence (UI), and 33 million experience overactive bladder (OAB).
What’s more, shame and stigma surrounding the topic lead more than 70 percent of people experiencing UI or OAB to never seek help or treatment for the issue.
With a condition as prevalent as urinary incontinence, there’s no reason to feel embarrassment. Instead, you should feel empowered to take steps to manage and treat your incontinence, improving your quality of life, and helping you feel the effects of UI or OAB as little as possible.
Here are 5 tips for managing daily UI or OAB:
1. Drink adequate fluids and avoid alcohol and caffeine
You might feel like reducing your fluid intake is the way to cut back frequent trips to the bathroom, cutting too far back will increase your urine concentration, making the urge to urinate even stronger. Instead, make sure you’re drinking an adequate amount of fluids daily, without over-consuming.
What’s more, cutting back on diuretics like alcohol and caffeine can reduce stress on the bladder and help you stay hydrated. Diuretics can irritate the bladder and worsen incontinence symptoms.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Losing weight can lower your risk of leaking urine, because weight increases abdominal pressure that can lead to UI. Research has found that obese and overweight individuals who lose just 10 percent of their body mass can reduce UI episodes by 50 percent.
3. Find the right incontinence products
Did you know that up to 80% of people with UI and OAB are wearing the wrong incontinence products? A study by Finnegan Medical Supply found that the majority of people wearing incontinence products for men and women are not wearing products that are absorbent enough. Wearing the wrong incontinence products can lead to discomfort, chafing, leaks, and even skin conditions.
Increase the absorbency of your incontinence products to be safe if you’re unsure you’re wearing the right products. When in doubt, consult a healthcare professional.
4. Keep a bladder diary
In order to successfully treat incontinence, you need to diagnose what type of incontinence you have. In order to help your doctor or healthcare professional pinpoint what type of incontinence is affecting you, keep a bladder diary to the time, quantity, and types of drinks you have. Track how many times you urinate and how many leaking episodes you have. If you notice any correlation between an episode and an event — like exercise or coughing — make note of that in your diary.
5. Do pelvic floor exercises
Kegel exercises are exercises used to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor, which can help both men and women who have incontinence. You can do a kegel by squeezing your pelvic floor muscles, the same muscles you use to “hold it”, and then release. This helps to strengthen muscles that support the bladder, helping to prevent leaks and lessen urges to urinate.
Incontinence is a common condition that affects many, but it doesn’t have to be a life changing or disruptive one. With the right incontinence products and lifestyle changes, it is a totally manageable condition that can have little to no affect on your quality of life.