Incontinence, a word often whispered as opposed to shouted, does not discriminate. It affects both young and old, and men and women across the United States and around the world. The effects of this condition often lead sufferers to lead an extremely conservative life in order to protect their dignity. In fact, according to the National Association For Continence (NAFC), “...studies have shown that up to 20% of women have reported quitting their physical activities due to incontinence.” Many believe that living an active life is simply not possible.
Happily, this is not true. In fact, living an active life is not only possible, it’s also important to your physical and mental well-being. Inactivity is unhealthy and it may lead to becoming overweight which can increase the symptoms of incontinence.
While being active includes exercise, it also encompasses regular daily activities (like shopping), recreation (enjoying a day in town) and travel. Active people are healthier and happier. In short, being active is the way to go. Below we have shared some important things you can do to help make this a bit easier if you or someone you love lives with incontinence.
Strengthen Your Pelvic Muscles: We have one word for you - kegels. These exercises can help to control incontinence by strengthening the walls of your pelvis. It is important to do these exercises regularly and correctly. The Mayo Clinic shares their advice online.
Watch What You Drink: This information is important for two reasons. First, you MUST remain hydrated. Limiting liquids is not the solution to urinary incontinence. In fact, it can result in dehydration, a condition which can lead to increased incontinence.
For incontinence sufferers, WHAT you drink is just as important as how much you drink. Certain liquids should be limited, if not completely avoided. Caffeine is is a diuretic and it can irritate your bladder. It should be avoided when possible. That said going “cold-turkey” and giving up caffeine all at once may not be wise. It could result in withdrawal symptoms including, but not limited to, headaches and irritability. Healthline.com highlights the dangers of giving up caffeine too quickly and shares tips for eliminating it from your diet.
Other beverages, including alcohol and citrus juices, should also be limited and avoided. Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic. Citrus juices, including orange, grapefruit and cranberry, can be irritating to your bladder and increase the symptoms of urge incontinence.
Identify Rest Rooms: Did you know that a goal of 10,000 steps a day is one for which many strive? According to the Mayo Clinic “The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, or roughly 1.5 to 2 miles."
How and where do you get your steps? Do you exercise in a gym? Perhaps you enjoy running or biking in a local park? Or, maybe you’re someone who “walks the mall” or enjoys exploring new towns. All of these are excellent opportunities for physical activity. Simply moving is most important.
That said, part of the problem with being out and around is the fear of not being able to locate a rest room when needed. Simply identifying the location of bathrooms in a gym, around the mall, in a city or along an exercise route can help combat the worry and provide reassurance. If and when the need to use the restroom arises unexpectedly, one can be located quickly and easily.
Dress Appropriately: If you or someone you love is living with incontinence, you are well-aware that unfortunately leakage may occur. Sometimes it is simply inevitable. So, it’s wise to consider your clothing. First, think dark colors (black and navy are great choices). These camouflage better than light. Being prepared never hurts. Love light and bright colors? Limit them to your shirt! Bonus, if your are wearing black or navy on the bottom almost everything will match.
Also, if you are prone to leaking, consider wearing some extra protection. There is a broad range of incontinence products available today. You can purchase them both in pharmacies and big box stores (like Target and Walmart) or even order them online. With items designed for both men and women, you should have no trouble finding something that works for you.
Finally, we all know that despite excellent preparation, accidents do happen. Don’t let an unfortunate moment curtail your plans for an outing. Simply pack a change of clothes. An extra pair of dark pants and underwear in your bag or car in case of an emergency can be life saver. It only takes a couple of minutes to change and you can continue on with your day!
There is no doubt that living actively leads to better health and greater happiness. Take the advice above. Live your life fully and enjoy all that it has to offer.
At LIQUAGUARD® we understand the concerns of our clients. Living with incontinence can be extremely difficult at times. We are proud of the products that we provide. Visit our website to learn all that we offer and don’t hesitate to call us; we can help you determine the best products for your specific needs. We understand the challenges faced by those suffering from incontinence. We continue to uphold our commitment to provide them, their families and their care givers the high quality products they need to live a more enjoyable life.