Incontinence can begin for many reasons, whether it’s post-baby or just the realities of growing older. Whatever the reason, incontinence is common and it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. If you’re ready to take control, we have a few simple things that can help.
How to Start
Though it might be awkward at first, don’t be afraid to talk about it with your doctor. When you ask for help, advice and treatment options, open up. Treatments can include everything from some behavior modifications to medications, and in rare instances, surgical correction.
Limit Caffeine, Alcohol, and Carbonated Waters
It’s a good general rule of thumb to be conservative with your liquid intake. And, while every liquid is considered a diuretic, these specific items may exacerbate the problem.
- Caffeine: This can irritate the bladder, stimulating muscle contractions which can bring on the symptoms of incontinence. Remember, caffeine is also found in foods like chocolate and in some medications. Try to limit intake to no more than 200mg per day. (Around 12 ounces of coffee.)
- Alcohol: Alcohol can be a stimulant, leading to more frequent bathroom breaks. It can also cause you to forget that you need to go, causing accidents.
- Carbonated Waters: The fizzy bubbles in carbonated beverages can make your urine more acidic, which could trigger your urge to urinate. If you’re getting tired of plain water, try adding your favorite fruits and herbs for a delicious (and healthy) treat!
Kegels, Kegels, Kegels
Just like with most gynecological issues, Kegel exercises are the number one thing you can do to limit or even prevent leakage. (Seriously, is there anything Kegel exercises can’t do?) When you have a strong pelvic floor, you are better able to keep your body in control of your leaks, especially in emergencies.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Before you move to medication or surgical options, try these long-term, and short-term conservative measures to see if they work for you.
- Go on a schedule: Start by setting a timer on your device and go every 2 hours. The following week, see if you can extend the time to 2 ¼ hours, etc. The longer you are able to hold without an accident, the less likely you are to run into emergency situations.
- When you go, go twice: Try what’s called the “double void.” After you’re finished with the initial void, stand up for about 30 seconds and sit back down. Bend forward and try to void again. Chances are there’s a little left in there.
- The Limited Leaker: If you notice you’re only leaking while working out, or when doing strenuous work, try wearing a maxi pad, or panty liner to avoid leaking through clothing.
- Go on a Weight Loss Program: Even just a little bit of extra weight can cause pressure on the bladder, causing leaks. Even just a loss of 5lbs can make a big difference.
If you have any questions or concerns about incontinence, talk to one of the Miami OB/GYN professionals to get started on the path to treatment.
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