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5 Steps to Easier Living with Urinary Incontinence

Posted by Carewell Staff on Sep 9th 2020

Living with urinary incontinence can be frustrating and often embarrassing. Whether you were recently diagnosed with a bladder issue or have been struggling for years, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Millions of people just like you have found ways to live an active life to the fullest.

Here are five of the most effective tips we've heard from our members.

Living with urinary incontinence can be frustrating and often embarrassing. Whether you were recently diagnosed with a bladder issue or have been struggling for years, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Millions of people just like you have found ways to live an active life to the fullest.

Here are five of the most effective tips we've heard from our members.

1. Avoid a "bladder-unfriendly" diet.

In many cases, urinary incontinence is more a result of what you're drinking than how much you're drinking. Beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine are considered diuretics and often cause irritation in the bladder. Any person living with urinary incontinence should consider avoiding those drinks, as well as carbonated beverages, oranges, lemons, and other citric fruits, cranberries, and tomatoes.

While drinking an exaggerated amount of liquid can lead to increased bladder leakage, not drinking enough can be problematic as well. When your body doesn’t have enough water, your urine will naturally become more concentrated, which in turn can cause bladder irritation and increased urgency. The key is finding a healthy balance.

2. Don't wait for an emergency.

Even people who don’t use adult diapers or booster pads often wait until their bladders feel full before heading to the bathroom. Unfortunately, when it reaches this point, the chances of an accident increase significantly. You can avoid this situation by being proactive and taking trips to the bathroom more frequently (every two or three hours), even when there is no urgency.

3. Get in touch with dear diary.

It's hard to efficiently treat and manage incontinence if you don’t know what’s causing the problem in the first place. Plenty of factors could be at play, such as an overactive bladder, a urinary system disorder, stress, or even something neurological.

Keeping track of your bladder activities and fluid intake during the day can help a doctor pinpoint, correlate, or narrow the source of the incontinence problem. Keep a daily record of your urinary activities, the time and amount of all liquids ingested, the physical activities you engaged in during the day, and anything else you can directly associate with an incontinence accident.

4. Take inventory of your meds.

Certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure and depression, can cause or worsen urinary incontinence. If you’re taking any medications – either prescribed or over-the-counter – it’s a good idea to discuss them with your doctor at your next visit. He or she can review the side effects and determine whether a change in dosage or type of medicine might help reduce or resolve an incontinence problem.

5. Assess your weight and level of activity.

You may not realize how much of an impact your weight has on bladder control issues, but research has shown that obesity is often directly linked to incontinence. Why? Excess weight adds pressure to your abdomen, which indirectly adds pressure to your bladder. Some studies have found that women who lose 10% of their total body mass can potentially reduce their risk of urinary accidents by up to 50%.

People with urinary incontinence often avoid exercise because they’re afraid it will lead to an accident, but the overall health benefits of exercise should well outweigh any negatives. While some activities might exacerbate the problem, that doesn’t mean you can’t try other activities. For instance, if running causes bladder leakage, switch to something that’s lower impact, like biking. Or keep running but use bladder control pads.

Living a full, active life with incontinence is absolutely achievable. You just have to know how best to manage the situation. These tips should help give you the tools you need to take back control of your life (and your bladder) and start living life to the fullest.

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