Managing Incontinence: Lifestyle Changes and Treatments Available

Urinary incontinence is a common and complex condition where a person experiences the loss of bladder control. The effects of incontinence can range from a small amount of urine leakage because of a cough or a sneeze to a sudden and strong urge to urinate that a person lacks time to reach a bathroom. Urinary incontinence or an overly active bladder can be a result of pregnancy, giving birth, urinary tract infection, or underlying diseases like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease.

Living with incontinence is difficult. It can even affect the confidence and mental health of some patients. Your treatment depends on the type of incontinence you have and the reason/s behind it. However, there are several things you can do to make it more manageable:

Mind your fluid and food intake

Alongside your medication and treatment, your doctor may advise you to modify your diet a bit. Try to avoid drinking and eating bladder irritants such as coffee, soda, tea, spicy food, citrus fruits, and alcohol since they are likely to increase the amount of urine your body creates. Instead, you should stick with the recommended amount of water to keep yourself hydrated, but if you don’t want to be disturbed in your sleep, it is better to limit your fluid intake before bedtime.

Search the market

There are a lot of products in the market that can help you deal with urinary incontinence. Ask other patients or your healthcare provider for product recommendations. Searching for the perfect type of incontinence underwear, pull-up pants, bladder control pads, and other products can even be enjoyable and can keep your mind off things for a moment.

Learn bladder control

Exercise your mind to have more control over your body. Having an overly active bladder means you’ll often feel the need to urinate, and there will be difficult situations wherein you need to wait in line, or you’re in a moving car, or there are simply no restrooms nearby. So, you need to learn how to distract yourself. You might also be interested in doing the Kegel exercise or pelvic floor muscle exercise to strengthen the muscles that control your bladder.

Electrical stimulation

If you’re having a hard time doing the Kegel exercise, electrical stimulation can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. The process starts by inserting a small probe into the vagina or anus. The electrical current that will run through the probe will trigger the pelvic muscles. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but electrical stimulation may be beneficial in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.

Vaginal cones

Vaginal cones are small weights inserted in the vagina which you need to hold in place using your pelvic floor muscles. The weight of the cones increases as you progress to the next level. Although these are particularly helpful with stress incontinence, they can be unpleasant for women.

Dealing with urinary incontinence is physically and mentally draining. Make sure that you share your feelings with family and trusted friends so they can help you cope with your situation. Before doing any of the abovementioned tips, it is essential to talk to your doctor first and ask for guidance on how you can properly execute them. 

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