Urinary incontinence doesn’t have to affect your daily plans. Millions of men and women across the world are battling this condition, so you’re not alone in your fight. Living with incontinence can be challenging, but with proper management, you can continue doing everything you love.
Here are four ways to manage urinary incontinence:
1. Cut Back on the Caffeine
It may be hard to imagine life without coffee, but caffeine – as a diuretic – can irritate the bladder.
While you can still get your caffeine fix, you may want to consider cutting back. Limiting your intake of coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages can help reduce the urge to go.
2. Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Also known as Kegel exercises, pelvic floor exercises will strengthen the muscles that support your bladder. By strengthening these muscles, you can help prevent that feeling of urgency and leaks.
To perform Kegel exercises, simply tighten or squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and release. These are the muscles that you use to start and stop urinating.
For best results, perform these exercises daily (a few times a day if you have the time). If you do these exercises regularly, you can expect to see results in a few weeks.
Because these exercises are discreet and can be performed anywhere, you can make them a part of your daily routine to keep your bladder-supporting muscles strong.
3. Make Sure You Have the Right Supplies
Depending on the severity of the incontinence, you may need some extra supplies to stay comfortable and go about your daily routine. Helpful incontinence supplies include:
- Pads, guards and liners
- Adult diapers
- Bed pads or chucks
- Wipes and washcloths
If the thought of wearing adult diapers is unsettling, you’ll be happy to hear that modern versions of this product are thinner, more comfortable and very discreet.
For less severe cases of incontinence, pads and liners are a great option and one that women will likely be familiar with using. For women, doctors may also suggest wearing a tampon to help reduce leaks when exercising.
While doctors don’t recommend wearing a tampon all the time, it can be helpful to use one while running or engaging in vigorous exercise that may trigger an accident.
Having the right supplies on hand can help make your life a little more comfortable while you work on strengthening those pelvic floor muscles.
4. Establish a Bathroom Schedule
Many doctors recommend establishing a bathroom schedule to keep your bladder empty and avoid leaks. This practice, also known as timed voiding, typically involves going to the bathroom to urinate every two to three hours.
Most people wait to use the restroom until they feel the urgency to go, but if you’re battling urinary incontinence, you know this can be a recipe for disaster. Voiding your bladder before you leave a restaurant or the office at the end of the day (even if you don’t feel the urge to go) can help prevent accidents.
If you’re battling with incontinence, your doctor can also provide you with helpful tips and management strategies to help you lead a more normal, comfortable life.