If you or someone you love is affected by urinary incontinence, you are likely aware of how uncomfortable it can be. Quite often, incontinence is a symptom of something else: either a condition (like aging, pregnancy or obesity) or an illness (like prostate cancer, kidney disease or multiple sclerosis).
Those suffering from different types of incontinence should schedule an appointment with a physician. This step is critical for two primary reasons.
First, as mentioned earlier, incontinence is often a symptom of another issue. It is important to understand its underlying cause. If you are suffering from a more serious medical illness, addressing it is critical for longer term health.
If your incontinence results from a condition (like childbirth or obesity), your doctor can share suggestions on how to manage it. This may ultimately improve the quality of your life.
In many cases, overcoming urinary incontinence is contingent upon changing behaviors. In fact, over the years, a number of tips have been shared by medical and research professionals.
Of course, you should discuss your options with your personal physician. Specific strategies may be more effective or appropriate than others for your situation. Several of the more popular suggestions for managing incontinence include those shared below.
While it may seem odd, staying well-hydrated can help manage this condition. Drinking large quantities of water in short periods, however, is not the answer.
Instead, drink water regularly, throughout the day. Not consuming enough water can lead to dehydration which results in extremely concentrated urine. This can irritate the bladder and increase the urgency to urinate. Additionally, staying hydrated helps prevent constipation.
Manage Your Diet
Not surprisingly, certain foods can affect incontinence. In addition to alcohol and caffeine, which are widely known to exacerbate incontinence, avoiding other foods (like those that are spicy or acidic) can also help. Consider removing one food item from your diet at a time to see if you experience relief.
Watch Your Weight
Incontinence is often a side effect of obesity. The additional pressure put on the bladder by excess weight can result in this condition. If you are overweight, discuss healthy eating plans with your physician prior to making dietary changes.
Embark on Pelvic Floor Exercises
Quite often, certain lifetime events (like pregnancy, childbirth and aging) can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, resulting in unfortunate leakage. Building these muscles can help you regain some control.
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as kegel exercises, strengthen the muscles supporting the bladder. These exercises, where you contract and relax certain muscles, can be done at home, with no equipment. The National Association for Continence provides step by step directions on how to do them.
According to The Simon Foundation for Continence, “Current and previous cigarette smokers are at an increased risk of experiencing stress urinary incontinence (SUI),....”
Additionally, smoking may lead to coughing, which increases the pressure on bladder muscles. While the connection may be difficult to understand, smoking can affect incontinence and quitting may help you better manage it.
Review Your Medications
Medications often have side effects. You may be unaware that medicine prescribed for you may be the cause of your incontinence issues.
In 2018, WedMd published an article titled “4 Drugs Linked to Urinary Incontinence”. This piece shared that medications including those prescribed for high blood pressure and depression may result in incontinence. Additionally, diuretics and sleeping pills were also discussed. When you visit your doctor, share the complete list of your medications.
The knowledge of what affects incontinence, as well as actions to manage it, provides those who suffer power to mitigate this condition. Managing incontinence may be the first step in living a more pleasurable life.
Additional help in leading a better life can be found in the many products available to alleviate some of the effects of incontinence. Everything from waterproof chair covers to throws, available from LIQUAGUARD® can help prevent embarrassment. In fact, we provide a broad range of options that can help make life just a little bit easier.
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