Urinary incontinence is a struggle many people undergo throughout their lives, and could happen to anyone at any age. While it is a common condition, it can be embarrassing for those living with bladder control issues. The more you worry about accidents, the more this can get in the way of you enjoying your life.
Fortunately, certain lifestyle strategies can easy urinary incontinence and help prevent any leaks or unexpected accidents in your daily life. These are small changes you can make in your own daily life that may help ease your symptoms and enjoy your life more.
Cut Back on Caffeine
Caffeine is a known bladder irritant. According to the International Urogynecological Journal, moderate or high intake of caffeine can contribute to the occurrence of urinary incontinence. There are also other studies that indicate this. Coffee is the worst irritant as it contains large amounts of caffeine, but you should also cut back on other stimulants, such as tea, soda, hot chocolate, and energy drinks.
Smoking is an unhealthy habit for anyone to have, and everyone should quit smoking for their own health's sake. However, smoking can ultimately contribute to more accidents for people with urinary incontinence because of how often you cough. Smokers cough more, and coughing puts pressure on your pelvic muscles. The less you smoke, the less you cough, which leads to less strain.
Decrease Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is another beverage that can irritate your bladder and trigger accidents or leaks. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, and therefore leads to increased urine production. On top of this, being intoxicated can cause your brain to become confused, which could trigger leaks. While it may not cause or contribute directly to your incontinence, it can trigger bladder dysfunction in those who are already suffering from this condition.
Try Bladder Training
Some people have found that bladder training has helped them manage instances of accidents or leaks. A bladder training routine is a form of behavioural therapy that can help you gain more control over your urinary behavior. This includes building and following a fixed washroom schedule and suppressing the urge to urinate in between those washroom visits. There are many techniques to do this, and finding one that works with your own schedule is important.
Focus on Healthy Eating and Weight Loss
Your weight has a lot to do with bladder control and incontinence. Excess body weight puts more pressure and strain on your pelvis, causing stress incontinence which leads to issues with bladder control. This does not mean you need to take on a stressful, strict diet. Eating nutritious, balanced meals and exercising regularly can help you adjust to a healthier lifestyle and achieve lasting weight loss.
Drink Enough Water
A common mistake many people with incontinence make is cutting back on fluid intake completely to reduce the urge to urinate. However, not getting enough water means you are increasing your risk for constipation, which can negatively impact your bladder. Additionally, not drinking enough water can also cause your bladder to become smaller, meaning more frequent accidents and leaks. Aim for six to eight glasses of water a day.
Create a Home Pelvic Exercise Routine
Bladder control begins with strong pelvic muscles. You can build strength in your own pelvic muscles through various at-home routines, particularly through regular kegel exercises. A kegel exercise consists of squeezing the pelvic muscles, as if you are stopping yourself from urinating. Try to do this multiple times per day, for up to 20 exercises at a time, to help build up strength. Yoga is also a great way to build body strength without putting too much strain on your pelvic muscles.