Despite how inconvenient incontinence can be, there are ways to manage this condition so you can continue to live a happy, healthy, and active life.
Seek Treatment Quickly
The first thing you should do is see your doctor about your condition. With proper diagnosis, your doctor can recommend a medical treatment plan and provide a prescription for the incontinence products and supplies you need.
In addition to a doctor’s advice, there are non-medical ways you can use to manage incontinence.
Everyone should get proper exercise for their health, but if you have incontinence, it’s important to do the right exercises.
Activities like running/jogging, aerobics, weightlifting, and sit-ups can aggravate incontinence and cause leaks due to the pressure they put on your pelvic floor.
Try to avoid lifting heavy things like grocery bags or even small children. Like lifting weights, this can do more harm than good.
Doing exercises like Kegels and Pilates can strengthen your pelvic floor and ease incontinence symptoms.
Watch What You Eat
Certain foods can aggravate incontinence. Do your best to limit or eliminate spicy and acidic foods from your diet. Sugary foods or artificial sweeteners can also irritate your bladder.
Carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages increase the urge to urinate and can make incontinence symptoms worse. You don’t have to eliminate them but cutting down significantly can make a difference.
Be sure to drink plenty of water. Drinking more water may sound counterintuitive to incontinence but keeping yourself hydrated helps more than it hurts. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and constipation.
Try to drink six to eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day. Space them out over the day and avoid drinking too much before bedtime to reduce the urge to urinate overnight.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight can put a strain on your bladder. Incontinence symptoms can improve when you maintain a healthy weight for your height and age.
Smoking leads to increased coughing which puts a strain on your bladder. In addition to the multitude of ways your health will improve if you stop smoking, it will ease incontinence as well.
If you don’t have any luck with non-medical remedies, here are some medical treatments you can try.
Bladder Training and Biofeedback
When first diagnosed with incontinence, your doctor may recommend bladder training which can accompany exercises for your pelvic floor. Bladder training is a technique designed to lengthen the time between feeling like you need to go to the bathroom and passing urine. Training usually takes six to eight weeks.
Biofeedback monitors how well your bladder training and pelvic floor exercises are working by inserting a small probe into the vagina or anus or attaching electrodes to the abdomen to sense when bladder muscles contract. The monitors relay the information to a computer to be evaluated by a specialist. Based on the results the specialists can recommend a course of treatment to improve bladder function.
Surgery & Medications
If lifestyle changes and bladder training aren’t working, your doctor may recommend medications or surgery to treat your incontinence.
However you decide to manage your incontinence, it is important to seek guidance from medical professionals to help you decide which course is best for your condition.
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Many adults have the occasional urge to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. About 69% of men and 76% of women over the age of 40 report going to the bathroom at least once per night.