5 steps to deal with Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a condition where one is unable to have control over the bladder. This occurs with age or certain medical conditions. Here are a few ways you can manage your incontinence:
Moderation is the key
There are many opinions about the food to consume as its effect varies from person to person. Spicy or acidic food tends to make the bladder over sensitive. Chocolate and artificial sweeteners also tend to have the same effect. In order to figure out what triggers your bladder, maintain a food diary.
It is advisable to pace out liquid consumption throughout the day. By the end of the day the frequency and quantity of liquid intake should be low. It is important to note that you don’t dehydrate yourself, with the intention of reducing the intake of fluids. Inadequate fluids in the system cause urinary infections. This would only further worsen the incontinence.
It helps to pay attention to what is consumed. Caffeine, soda and other carbonated drinks irritate the bladder. Alcohol is a diuretic and only causes more fluid to accumulate in the bladder, thus worsening the problem.
Train your bladder to exercise better control
Behavioural techniques like bladder training can help you exercise more control over your bladder. This exercise involves pacing out the intervals between each urination. In the beginning the time interval could be every half hour. Once you are accustomed to this, increase the time interval. This is a slow and long process that might take months. Eventually you will be able to go without a visit to the loo for more than 3 hours. It is just a matter of conditioning your muscles.
You may also try Kegel exercises. They help boost the strength of the pelvic muscles. These muscles help the bladder hold urine. You can do it as a part of your daily routine. Start with the muscles you use to stop yourself from passing gas. Then tense, hold and release. Build up till you can do three or four sets of ten repetitions each day. They can be done in any position – lying, standing, or even sitting.
Choose products that help manage incontinence
Adults have many choices when it comes to products that help manage incontinence. Their choice depends on a few factors – Type of incontinence, Gender, Absorbency level, Odour control, Skin protection, and Washable or disposable. Here are some of the products that they can choose from –
Sheet protector, Adult diapers, Overnight underwear, Disposable bed pads, Mattress protector and Penile clamp. Each of these products vary in their functionality. You may choose the product that addresses your needs. You will find that many times you will be needing more than one product simultaneously.
Explore medical options like surgery, medication and devices
Surgical options for stress incontinence include a male sling. In order to prevent leaking due to coughing, sneezing, or vigorous activities, the urethra is compressed by wrapping material around it. An implanted artificial sphincter uses a cuff to close the urethra. When the pump is squeezed it opens the cuff and releases urine when you want to relieve yourself. This also helps stress incontinence. A pacemaker like device stimulates the nerves that relax the bladder and pelvic floor muscles.
Medication is also an option for those with urge incontinence. The medication has different effects – some relax the muscles. This helps to prevent unwanted contractions of the bladder. Some block the nerve signals to the bladder that make it contract at the wrong time. Medication prescribed to shrink an enlarged prostate can help with other urinary problems. You need to pay attention to drugs: like diuretic ‘water pills’ can actually trigger or worsen incontinence.
Some devices that can be used are catheters. They roll onto the penis like condoms and catch urine. These are attached to drainage bags. The drainage bag is usually hung over the side of your bed or strapped under your clothes. You have an option of intermittent catheterization. This involves using a tube into the bladder that will be used at scheduled times.
Reach out for support
At times, you may feel anxious about your bladder problems. Your social life might be affected due to leaking. You need to look up and face the situation. Seek the help of a support group or a therapist. You may seek the doctor, to explore any new options to manage incontinence. Remember, incontinence is almost always treatable.