|What can you do take control?
World Continence Week, 23rd – 29th June 2014
Light/stress incontinence is when a small amount of urine is leaked, usually caused by a cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise. Light/stress incontinence is more common in women, due to the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder outlet being weakened by pregnancy, childbirth and the menopause. Men may develop light/stress incontinence following a prostate operation.
Whether you have light/stress incontinence, or another kind entirely, there are some simple methods that can help you manage your incontinence day to day and make life that little bit easier.
1. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and bowel, they relax to let urine out and contract to give you control.
Weakening of the pelvic floor can result in reduced control leading to urinary incontinence. This kind of incontinence is typically referred to as light or stress incontinence and it is when small amounts of urine are leaked during certain activities.
Exercises can help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and so help you to gain control of your urinary incontinence. For guides and information from Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Trust about pelvic floor exercises, click here for men, or click here for women.
2. Schedule trips to the bathroom
Timed urination helps to keep the bladder empty. Even if you don’t necessarily feel the need to go, go anyway! Afterall, an empty bladder cannot leak. It may take time to work out a bathroom schedule that works for you, why not try timed urination every hour or two for a starting point.
3. Double voiding
Take your time in the bathroom, relax for a little while after urinating and then urinate again. This process helps to fully empty the bladder and can also help to prevent discomfort and infections. Try not to strain when doing this, it is recommended that you stand and rotate your hips before urinating a second time.
4. Clear the path
In a hurry to get to the bathroom? Make sure the route is clear of any obstacles to enable you to get there quickly. Easy-release clothing can also help when you’re in a rush, Velcro fastenings and elasticated waists are key.
5. Cut out caffeine
Common diuretics include coffee, tea and carbonated drinks. Caffeine increases the volume of urine, so in order to help control urinary incontinence it is recommended to reduce consumption or even cut them out altogether.
6. Keep hydrated
Although you may feel as though cutting down on the amount you drink will help you need ‘to go’ less frequently, your body does need fluid so it is important to drink enough to stay hydrated. 8 cups a day is recommended.
7. Look out for side effects
Some medications can make urinary incontinence worse as a side effect. Make sure your doctor is aware of your incontinence to avoid taking medication that can be a diuretic. Some over the counter drugs can have these side effects, so make sure you always read the information leaflet provided.