Urinary incontinence is a common and often frustrating condition that can be managed through behavioral and lifestyle changes. Below are four ways you can improve your incontinence symptoms and get better bladder control:
Did you know that you can learn how to retrain your bladder to go when you want it to? The technique, called bladder retraining, involves going to the bathroom on a schedule that’s based on your bladder habits. You can start the schedule with one hour intervals, and then slowly work up to 2-hour and 3-hour intervals. The goal of bladder retraining is to increase your bladder’s capacity to hold urine, which in turn, reduces the amount of bathroom breaks and wetting accidents.
Okay, the statement above is not entirely true. However, kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, can help significantly reduce incontinence symptoms. The key is to do them regularly and correctly. Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles that are used to control urine flow. Many women do kegels after giving birth to help strengthen pelvic muscles. Men have also found kegels effective in treating leakage after prostate surgery.
When eating out, make a habit to order water instead of soda, tea or alcohol. Water not only quenches your thirst, but also makes for a happier bladder. Unlike the caffeinated and carbonated beverages, water helps prevent your pee from becoming too concentrated (this can increase bladder irritation and urgency).
Daily exercise is a great for everyone, young and old, with urinary incontinence or without. Studies have found that losing weight can help reduce stress incontinence symptoms. The type of exercise is vast – from playing tennis in the spring, snowboarding in the winter, and hitting up the gym, there are many ways to stay active and manage incontinence.
These behavioral techniques take time and patience. Of course, surgery and medication for incontinence are available, but they should be a last resort. If your incontinence symptoms worsen, contact your doctor for other methods of treatment.