Home Health & Wellness How to Manage Incontinence

How to Manage Incontinence

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Incontinence can make your life challenging in a variety of ways, making your bathroom visits less comfortable and less consistent – and making you feel embarrassed or reluctant to engage with people the way you used to.

Fortunately, there are many strategies and products that can help you manage incontinence much more comfortably.

The basics of incontinence

The term incontinence is usually used in reference to urinary incontinence, which is the loss of control over the bladder. This may be temporary or chronic, and it may range from mild to severe. While it’s somewhat more common in older people, young people can experience it as well – and it may not be attributable to any underlying cause.

There are many different types of incontinence, including:

  • Stress incontinence. Stress incontinence usually happens when some kind of pressure is placed on the bladder. In this scenario, you may leak urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or working out. In young to middle-aged women, this is the most common type of incontinence.
  • Urge incontinence. Urge incontinence is when you have a sudden, overwhelming urge to urinate, and you can’t make it to the bathroom in time. This is typically found in older people or people suffering from diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, MS, or stroke.
  • Overflow incontinence. If your bladder is nearly always full, and you suffer from occasional, small leaks, it could be overflow incontinence. This is often a side effect of an enlarged prostate, diabetes, or spinal cord injuries.
  • Functional incontinence. If you have relatively normal bladder function, but you have trouble making it to the bathroom in time because of other physical ailments, you may have functional incontinence.

How to manage incontinence

If you suffer from incontinence, what steps can you take to manage it?

  • Make some upgrades. First, consider making some upgrades to your home bathroom. If you’re struggling with incontinence, getting to the bathroom in time may be difficult or you may struggle when you’re in the bathroom. Some simple upgrades can make your life easier and make the bathroom much more comfortable when you visit it. A heated bidet toilet seat, for example, can keep you warm in winter, help you relax while you’re sitting, and clean yourself more easily and more thoroughly when you’re done.
  • Monitor and control your fluid intake. Next, carefully monitor and control your fluid intake. Your bladder can’t produce urine without you consuming fluids. You can therefore exercise at least some degree of control over how your bladder operates. Avoid drinking large quantities of fluids before bedtime or before special events.
  • 7Schedule your bathroom visits. Try to develop a rhythm for your bathroom visits. It can help you consistently keep your bladder clear and lead to more predictability in your routine.
  • Be aware of bladder irritants. Bladder irritants like caffeinated beverages, alcoholic beverages, citrus fruits, B vitamins, and acids can all stimulate your bladder and cause it to be overactive. Pay attention to specific bladder irritants that cause issues in your body and strive to avoid them.
  • Practise pelvic floor exercises. Some people develop greater bladder control with the help of pelvic floor exercises. These exercises are relatively simple, but if you practice them regularly, you can build your internal strength and mitigate some issues relevant to incontinence.
  • Improve your dietary habits. You may see some improvements to your incontinence if you follow better dietary habits. Eating a diverse mix of vegetables, fruits, sources of fiber, and sources of protein, along with getting adequate hydration in the form of water, can improve your overall health and keep you more regular.
  • Keep notes. It’s also a good idea to keep notes throughout your period of incontinence. Keep track of how often you go to the bathroom, when you go to the bathroom, what the experience in the bathroom is like, what you’re eating and drinking, and what it feels like when you have an urge to go. Over time, you’ll be able to tell whether this condition is getting better or getting worse and you’ll be able to provide your medical professionals with more details, which they can then use to provide you with better treatment.
  • Consider other medical treatments. Depending on the nature of your situation, your doctor may advise you to try any number of medical treatments, such as medications, biofeedback, nerve stimulation, estrogen cream, or specific medical devices. For some people, surgery may be a reasonable option.

Takeaway

For many people, urinary incontinence is little more than a temporary annoyance that can be easily mitigated with the right strategies. For some, it’s a lifelong and somewhat debilitating condition that requires medical intervention. Either way, remaining conscious of your habits, practicing prevention and mitigation strategies, and trusting the advice of your medical professionals can help you feel better.


Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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