Self-Help For Incontinence
Incontinence can strike both men and women at any age. The most common types of incontinence are urge incontinence, where you feel a sudden and urgent need to go, and stress incontinence, where you leak when you cough or laugh. The good news is, that whoever you are, whichever of these types of incontinence you have, there are several things you can do that will help to reduce your symptoms and may even cure your incontinence symptoms altogether. Along with choosing the right urinary products from Incodirect, these simple steps can make a life-changing difference to your incontinence issues.
Look after your pelvic floor
In many cases, it’s a weakening of the muscles of the pelvic floor that lead to incontinence issues. This can be as a result of pregnancy, aging or a range of other causes. Strengthening your pelvic floor, by doing regular Kegel exercises, can make a big difference to your bladder control. Low impact exercises, such as Pilates, can also help strengthen your core muscles. However, you should avoid high impact or jerky exercises and exercises that put pressure on your pelvic floor, such as sit-ups.
Shed some weight
Being overweight puts a big strain on your pelvic floor and fatty tissue pressing on your bladder doesn’t help. Studies show that people in the highest BMI category are twice as likely to suffer incontinence than people in the lowest BMI category. In some cases, significant weight loss can substantially reduce your dependence on urinary products and can even stop the symptoms of incontinence altogether, especially if combined with strengthening exercises.
It may be tempting to restrict your fluid intake to try to avoid leaks and the urgent need for the loo, but this can actually work the other way. Dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, constipation and even kidney stones, all of which will make your incontinence symptoms worse. Drinking less over time will also shrink your bladder volume, causing you to need the toilet more, not less. You should drink the equivalent of 6-8 glasses of water a day, but you need to drink the right things. To shop items such as urinary products visit Incodirect.
Choose your drinks carefully
Caffeine is known to irritate the bladder and should be avoided. One study in the Journal of Urology found that just two cups of coffee a day increases the chances of urinary incontinence by as much as 72%. Remember, caffeine is not only found in coffee, but also in fizzy drinks, energy drinks, tea and hot chocolate. You should also avoid alcohol, as this is a diuretic and will make you need the toilet more.
Watch what you eat
Being careful with your drinks may be obvious, but you may not immediately think there’s a connection between food and incontinence, yet there is. Certain foods, such as spicy dishes, sharp, citrus foods and even strong cheeses, will irritate the bladder. It is different for different people, so try experimenting with your diet by removing different foods from these groups to see what difference it makes.
Smoking is generally bad for your health and should be avoided. Specifically, smokers cough can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and make stress incontinence much worse. The NHS offers a range of services to help you quit, with a free helpline available seven days a week on 0300 123 1044.
One of the best ways to help with incontinence issues is to take up yoga. Yoga can bring benefits on many levels, not only helping to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles through gentle stretching exercises, but also helping to reduce anxiety and stress which can make your incontinence worse. A study at the University of California found that yoga, focussed on the pelvic floor, reduced symptoms of incontinence by up to 70%.