Dealing with urinary incontinence is a frustrating and often embarrassing experience. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with a bladder issue or have been struggling with it for years, Care Club wants you to know that you are not alone. We want you to know that millions of people like you have found ways to live a full and active life. We are here to support you and give you the guidance that you need.
Here are 7 things you need to know that can help you reclaim your life and enjoy it to the fullest while living with urinary incontinence.
You can proactively prevent accidents.
People who experience urinary incontinence often wait until their bladder feels full before heading to the bathroom. Unfortunately, when it gets to this point, the chances of an accident increase significantly. You can avoid this by being proactive and taking trips to the bathroom more frequently (every two or three hours) – even when there is no urgency.
You don’t necessarily have to limit your fluid intake.
Many people with urinary problems believe limiting the amount of fluids they drink decreases the chances of an accident. Certainly drinking an exaggerated amount of fluids can lead to increased bladder leakage, but not drinking enough can actually be problematic as well. When your body doesn’t have enough water, your urine will naturally become more concentrated, which in turn might cause bladder irritation and increased urgency. The key is finding a healthy balance that works for you.
Keeping a diary can help manage the problem.
It is hard to efficiently treat and manage incontinence if you don’t know what’s causing the problem in the first place. There are plenty of factors that could be at play, such as an overactive bladder, a urinary system disorder, stress or even something neurological. Keeping track of your bladder activities and fluid intake during the day can help a doctor pinpoint, correlate or narrow the source of the incontinence problem. Keep daily track and record all your urinary activities (whether intended or not), the time and amount of all liquids ingested, the type of physical activities that you engaged in during the day, and anything that you can directly associate to an incontinence accident.
You can still exercise. In fact, you should!
People with urinary incontinence often avoid exercise because they’re afraid it will lead to an accident. We want you to understand that the overall health benefits of exercise should well outweigh any negatives or any possible accident. And while some activities might exacerbate the problem, that doesn’t mean you can’t try other activities. For instance, if running causes bladder leakage, switch to something that’s lower impact, like biking. And, of course, don’t forget those all-important Kegel exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor.
Your weight makes a difference.
You may not realize how much of an impact your body weight has on your bladder control issues. In fact, research has shown that obesity is often linked to incontinence due to excess weight adding pressure to your abdomen and indirectly to your bladder. Some studies have actually found that women who lose just 10% of their total body mass can potentially reduce their risk of urinary accidents by up to 50%.
You should cut back on substances that act as diuretics.
In many cases, urinary incontinence is more a result of what you are drinking than how much you are drinking. Beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine are considered diuretics and often cause irritation in the bladder. Again, keeping a diary of accidents can help you determine if cutting back on these things might help reduce your risk of accidents.
Your medications might be making things worse.
Certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure and depression, can also cause or worsen urinary incontinence. If you’re taking any medications – either prescribed or over-the-counter – it’s a good idea to discuss them with your doctor at your next visit. He or she can review the side effects and determine whether a change in dosage or type of medicine might help reduce or resolve an incontinence problem.
Living a full, active life with incontinence is absolutely achievable. You just have to know how best to manage the situation. These 7 tips should help give you the tools and information you need to take back control of your life (and your bladder) and start living your life to the fullest.