Lifestyle Changes & Prevention

Lifestyle Changes & Prevention

Mild cases of incontinence may be helped with simple lifestyle changes.

Drink adequate fluids to avoid dehydration – about 6-8 glasses per day – but don’t drink too much. Limit your intake of fluids after dinner in the evening to minimize night-time accidents. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and colas as caffeine is a diuretic. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and carbonated beverages which may contribute to leaks. Losing weight if the patient is overweight may help relieve pressure on the bladder.

The Importance of Fibre

Getting adequate fibre helps move your bowels, which in turn helps minimize the risk of incontinence. Most adults should aim to get between 25 and 30 grams of dietary fibre per day. Lentils, beans, artichokes, avocados, berries, and figs are good sources of fibre. Fibre and water work together to optimize bowel health and minimize constipation. Being constipated increases pressure in the abdomen.

Bladder Training for Urinary Incontinence

Stick to a Schedule

Bladder training is a useful way to treat both common forms of urinary incontinence. To implement this training, go to the bathroom at set times to urinate. The goal is to urinate frequently enough that it minimizes urges to void and accidents. As the bladder strengthens and accidents are less frequent, the patient can increase the length of time between bathroom trips. They patient must stick to the schedule whether or not they feel the need to urinate. If their goal is visit the restroom every hour and 15 minutes, they must do so to help decrease their symptoms.

Length of Training

Training may take between 3 and 12 weeks or longer. During the program, the physician may ask the patient to keep a diary of their bathroom habits including when and how much they urinate. They may be asked to record their fluid intake and if and when they have any accidents and how much they lose at a time. This information will help them and their health professional identify triggers for their symptoms and help optimize treatment.

Be Ready and Prepared

Nappies, Pads, Pantyliners, Creams and Deodorizers

Despite patients best efforts, accidents may still happen from time to time. There are many products that can help you feel confident being out and participating in the world. Adult diapers are one option to stay dry in the event of an accident if the patient tends to leak large amounts. Disposable pads or pantyliners worn in underwear may be enough protection if you are prone to smaller accidents. Waterproof underwear is another safeguard to help keep clothing from getting wet. If night-time accidents are a concern, disposable pads can be placed on the bed to protect the mattress. Loss of urine can be irritating to the skin. Skin needs to be kept clean and dry. Doctors for recommend cleansers that are gentle enough to be non-irritating to the area around the urethra. Creams are also available to help block the urine from the skin. If a strong urine smell is distressing, deodorizing tablets are available to help cut down on odour.

However, these options often leave the patient embarrassed and compromises their quality of life to a large degree. Women are living longer and are maintaining active lifestyles well into their 70’s and 80’s. Nappies or pads affect their daily activities to a great degree resulting in them seeking more effective solutions that will cure or improve their incontinence and that do not carry high risk of complications.

Incontinence Prevention

Healthy Habits Are Key

The best treatment for incontinence is prevention. Exercise regularly to boost your overall health and keep weight within a healthy range. Excess weight puts extra strain on the bladder. If you’re worried about having an accident while exercising, be active somewhere that has restrooms readily accessible, like a gym. Regular exercise reduces your risk of obesity and diabetes, two conditions that may trigger urinary incontinence or make it worse. Don’t forget to do Kegel exercises regularly to strengthen and tone muscles that control urination. Avoid smoking as it can lead to chronic cough, which stresses the bladder and may trigger leaks.

Eat for Health

Certain foods may irritate the bladder and increase inflammation, both of which may trigger or exacerbate urinary incontinence. Potentially problematic foods and beverages include tomatoes, citrus drinks, and highly acidic foods. Spices, alcohol, and chocolate may provoke bladder irritation and leaks. If you’re unsure whether diet plays a role in your symptoms, keep a food diary and note what you eat and drink prior to experiencing symptoms. It may take some time to identify triggers, but it’s well worth the effort.

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