It happens to the best of us — an unexpected sneeze or giggle and suddenly you are made aware that you have a leaky bladder.
As difficult as these situations can be, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. According to one study, 45 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 80 experience some degree of urinary incontinence.
Luckily, there are steps you may take to regain control of your bladder, such as products to strengthen your pelvic floor or simple lifestyle changes.
Keep reading to learn more about this condition and tips on how to help deal with it.
Why Do I Have A Leaky Bladder?
Urinary incontinence typically develops as the body changes, be that from aging, menopause, or childbirth. Though it can happen to anyone, reproductive events that are specific to women have a higher likelihood of causing the muscles that stop urine flow to weaken, resulting in urine leakage. It is a common occurrence among older individuals too.
What Are The Most Common Kinds of Incontinence?
Though there are several types, the two that affect women the most are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence refers to the strain that actions like coughing, sneezing, or exercising can put on a weakened pelvic floor, resulting in accidents. This type of incontinence largely affects younger women and is the most common form of incontinence.
Urge incontinence, sometimes referred to as an overactive bladder, is most common in older women. It occurs when the need to urinate is incredibly strong and impossible to ignore. Urine leakage often happens before you’re able to get to a bathroom. Or, if you are able to get to a bathroom, you are unable to produce much urine.
A Bit Of Both
For many women, it’s not strictly one or the other. Oftentimes, individuals with bladder leakage experience symptoms from both forms of incontinence — and that’s normal.
So, How Do I Treat A Leaky Bladder?
Whether you’re dealing with stress or urge incontinence, strengthening your pelvic floor through exercise is one of the best ways to help mitigate symptoms. These exercises, called Kegels, “work out” the muscles that stop the flow of urine, strengthening them so that urine leakage happens less often.
To work out the muscles, you may practice stopping the urine stream while using the bathroom. If you need extra help, consider using a device that tones the muscles for you.
How Do I Use Incontinence Devices?
Though they might seem intimidating, using Kegel devices is as easy as putting in a tampon. With different programs and workouts available, finding a comfortable and effective exercise routine is easy.
The devices work by sending signals to your muscles to tighten, ultimately realigning your visceral organs and minimizing the likelihood of a bladder accident. Of course, a work out- is only as good as the proceedure followed. A quality device can take the guesswork out of learning how to do Kegels with comprehensive guides and instructions so all you have to do is sit back and relax.
AutoKegel® is recommended to exercise your pelvic floor muscles for at least 20 to 35 minutes each day for results.
How Else Can I Minimize Urinary Incontinence?
In addition to Kegel exercises, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to ensure any urine leakage is a thing of the past.
Accidents happen. To minimize the scale of them, try wearing pads or panty liners on a daily basis. Unlike the ones worn during menstruation, there are pads made just for absorbing urine.
For a more environmentally friendly option, the same urine absorbing capabilities are available in the form of reusable, washable panties.
Scheduling Bathroom Breaks
Consider training your bladder. Start by keeping track of when you go to the bathroom in a notebook. Try and set a routine, then gradually increase the amount of time between trips to the bathroom. Eventually, you will be able to hold your urine for longer.
A Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most straightforward ways to relieve incontinence. Shedding extra pounds helps to lessen the strain on your bladder and the surrounding muscles, making it easier to control your urine stream.
Eating a diet rich in fiber aids in relieving constipation and eases the pressure on your bladder as well.
Cutting Down On Drinks That Make You Leak
The caffeine, acidity, artificial sweeteners, and carbonation found in soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol are known to increase the likelihood of an accident. Try minimizing the consumption of these drinks to encourage regular bladder function.
A prosthetic device prescribed by a physician for helping the urethra resist abdominal pressure. As with any prescribed device, there are concerns which your physician will discuss with you.
There are a number of medications available. As with any narcotic, there are concerns which your physician will discuss with you.
A strip of mesh material can be surgically placed across the pelvic floor. As with any surgery, there are concerns which your physician will discuss with you.
Urinary Incontinence Does Not Have To Control You
Allaying the symptoms of a leaky bladder does more than simply heal your body. Without the nagging fear of an accident or constant need to use the bathroom (and fear of missing out while you’re in there), you’ll be able to live the life you’ve always wanted.
Whether it takes a simple change in diet or commitment to a new routine, regaining control over your bladder is possible.
If you have more questions, see our other blog posts that will answer any questions you may have.
If you’re interested in trying a Kegel device that strengthens your pelvic floor, check out our Yarlap System. The Yarlap is a compact and discreet device that is FDA cleared and we are very proud of our results.