Bladder Control Problems For Women: Lifestyle Strategies for Relief

Take steps to get some relief
 from an overactive bladder.
Many women suffer from an overactive bladder of incontinence. It can be embarrassing to talk about this problem, leaving many with few ideas for how to manage their condition and find relief. The average woman waits 6 years before consulting a healthcare professional about their incontinence. 

Stop waiting, take steps today to get some relief. The following are ten lifestyle strategies that can offer relief, reduce symptoms, and help you feel more in control of your incontinence.

1. Strengthen your pelvic floor. While there are a number of types of incontinence, many women suffer from stress incontinence. This is when the muscles that hold the bladder and control the urethra are weakened or damaged, and so stress or pressure, such as laughing, sneezing, and coughing cause leakage. Fortunately you can do exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The most common exercise is called a Kegel. A Kegel is where you contract the pelvic floor muscles and hold for 3 seconds. Imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine mid stream. If you are not sure how to do this, consider biofeedback. It is a method that allows you to see instant feedback when you tense a muscle, and can help you to learn to do Kegels correctly, and target specific muscles. Another option for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is vaginal weights. These are weights you insert in the vagina and hold, gradually moving up to heavier weights as you strengthen the muscles.

2. Treat chronic cough. Many women suffer from stress incontinence due to damage to the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and birth. Thus, any kind of laugh, sneeze, or cough can cause leaking. If you have a chronic cough get it treated and reduce leakage.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you are incontinence, being overweight can worsen symptoms as the pressure on the bladder caused by excess weight can result in greater leakage. Losing weight can improve symptoms.
Stop smoking. Smoking can negatively impact bladder control, especially if the smoker develops a chronic cough.

5. Stay hydrated. It is important to stay properly hydrated if you want to reduce your incontinence symptoms. Many believe that by limiting their fluid intake they will have fewer accidents. This can cause the urine to become too concentrated, irritating the bladder, and causing greater urgency. Stay hydrated, just cut yourself off a few hours before bed.

6. Train your bladder. One of the first lines of defense is bladder training. Here’s how to do it:

a. Keep a voiding diary for a few days so you can see when you usually urinate, giving you a rough schedule for bladder training.

b. Do your best to stick to the schedule. Only voiding at the set times, then gradually extend those times by 15 minutes.

c. Stick to the schedule. There will be times when you just can’t wait, if that happens, get back on the schedule as quickly as possible.

d. Relax. Practice techniques to reduce urgency by deep breathing, sitting, and relaxing, allowing you to wait until the scheduled times.

e. Increase intervals. As you get comfortable, lengthen the timing so you only go to the toilet every 2-4 hours. Increase in 15 minute intervals.

7. Cut caffeine and acidic foods. Certain things are food triggers, which means they are foods that can cause bladder irritation, and increase frequency and urgency for urination. Avoid these foods. Caffeine is a diuretic, and foods including citrus fruits, pineapple refined sugars, and alcohol should be avoided.

8. Manage your medications. There a re medicines, such as blood pressure medication that can contribute to bladder control problems. If you are on a medication and see your symptoms worsen, talk to your doctor.

9. Start exercising. Exercising improves overall health, which can help with bladder control, but there are also studies that show it is directly related. Getting 30 minutes of exercise daily can improve symptoms.

10. Minimize constipation. Get your fiber, drink your water, as constipation can cause urinary incontinence. Straining can weaken the muscles and cause damage, and full bowels can put pressure on the bladder and increase leakage.

If you suffer from bladder control problems, consider pads, disposable underwear, or other absorbent products. Many are designed specifically for women, and can help prevent leaking, and provide coverage. If you are not sure which product would best suit your needs, try before you buy with a sample set, or talk to a product specialist. Samples can be purchased in sets of 4 for just $3.49. Call 800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST to talk to one of our all female team of product specialists.
Try our Sample Service to avoid wasting money on trial and error.

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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