6 Best Ways to Control Urinary Incontinence
Tips to Control Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is known as the involuntary leakage of urine, which means a person cannot prevent urine from unintentionally leaking out. It’s a common problem that affects many individuals, more particularly women. It can be due to risk factors such as stress, obesity and smoking, or simply because of old age. If you’re suffering from urinary incontinence, the following tips might help you relieve your symptoms.
1. Pelvic Floor Exercises
One of the most effective ways to reduce leakage is performing pelvic floor exercises, also more popularly known as Kegel exercises. These exercises help strengthen the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles, which are the muscles that help control the flow of urination. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, simply stop your urination midstream. Once you’ve identified your pelvic muscles, you need to perfect your technique. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold for five seconds, relaxing for five seconds immediately after. Practice your technique about five times in a row and then try working on keeping your muscles contracted for increased periods of time. For example, try at least 10 seconds at a time while relaxing 10 seconds in between. For best results, make pelvic floor exercises a part of your daily routine and aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
2. Lose Weight
Being overweight actually weakens your pelvic floor muscles and losing weight may improve or clear up your incontinence symptoms. This is due to excess weight putting added pressure onto your abdominal area, which then pushes onto your bladder and causes leakage. Once you lose weight, you’ll then have less pressure on your bladder and fewer signs of incontinence. In order to lose the excess weight, try incorporating exercise into your daily routine and healthy eating habits.
However, when you’re starting out you also want to make sure you are doing exercises that are “pelvic floor friendly.” Pilates is a great activity to try and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This type of exercise gently stretches and strengthens your core muscles and has recently become a more popular way to treat incontinence. Consistent moderate exercise, strength training and muscle stretching are some of the best ways to keep fitness an integral part of your routine – and ultimately reduce leakage.
3. Stop Smoking
Smoking puts you at risk for incontinence. When you smoke you tend to cough more, and coughing puts strain and recurrent pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. Try switching to e-cigarettes, patches, lozenges or gum to help you resist any temptation or break the habit altogether.
4. Cut Back on Caffeine
Caffeine has a huge impact on irritating your bladder and making incontinence much worse. Although you may love coffee and can’t go without your three cups a day, try cutting down to either one or none and switching to decaffeinated roasts. Other drinks that contain caffeine, like energy drinks or soda, should also be replaced with water or other non-caffeinated beverages throughout the day.
5. Drink More Water
Although you may think drinking more liquids may increase your bladder leakage, it’s actually the opposite. Limiting your water intake may actually increase your incontinence symptoms. With less fluid intake, your urine becomes more concentrated, irritating the bladder surface. This causes you go to the bathroom more frequently and increases your chances of bacteria growth, which can also trigger incontinence. Unless advised otherwise by your physician, never restrict your fluid intake to control your incontinence. It’s actually recommended that you drink six to eight glasses of water throughout the day.
6. Find a Gynecologist Near You
Regardless of the severity of your urinary incontinence, it’s important to see a gynecologist to determine the underlying cause and type of the incontinence you’re experiencing. At Women First Health Center, we can help resolve your urinary incontinence so that you don’t have to live with this problem anymore. Schedule an appointment at our West Orange office so we can help you return to a healthy life!