What Steps Can I Take At Home To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
You can also buy pads or protective underwear while you take other steps to treat urinary incontinence. These are sold in many stores that also sell feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads.
How To Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
First, you need to locate your pelvic floor muscles, which you can do by trying to stop your flow of urine mid-stream. Exercises should be performed at first by sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, and your elbows rested on your knees.
Two types of exercises, called slow contraction and fast contraction, should be performed to give your pelvic floor a full workout. Always do the slow contraction exercises first and then the fast contraction exercises.
To practice slow contraction exercises:
- Also, draw up the muscles around your urethra as if you are trying to stop urine flow.
- Hold this position for as long as you can. You may only be able to hold this contraction for a couple of seconds at first, but the goal is to hold for a count of 10 seconds.
- Slowly relax and let go for 10 seconds.
- Gradually increase the time you hold the contraction and repeat until your muscles begin to feel tired.
To practice fast contraction exercises:
- Hold the contraction for 1 second and then let go and relax.
- Repeat the contractions up to 10 times or until your muscles tire.
Try to come up with an exercise plan that includes 10 slow contractions and three sets of 10 fast contractions twice per day.
Make sure that you breathe normally while exercising and are focusing on the correct muscles. You should begin to see results within 36 months.
Bladder training is a behavioral therapy that aims to increase the time between urinating.
Treatment Options For Urgency Incontinence:
- Pelvic floor physical therapy This therapy helps to retrain the bladder.
- Medications A range of medications can help you hold your bladder for longer and decrease your urinary frequency symptoms.
- Botox injections in the bladder Botox relaxes the wall of your bladder in order to prevent it from contracting when it’s not supposed to.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation This treatment uses a needle to stimulate a nerve in your foot that travels up the leg to the spine, where it connects with the bladder and calms it down.
- Sacral neural modulation In this outpatient surgical procedure, a bladder pacemaker is implanted to help control how the bladder is stimulated by the sacral nerve.
“Regardless of which type of incontinence you’re experiencing, it’s important to get evaluated simply because there are so many options for treating urinary incontinence,” says Dr. Lindo. “We always start with conservative treatment approaches, but if those don’t work, you don’t have to continue to suffer. We can help to improve your quality of life.”
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When Should I See My Doctor
Most women who leak urine after childbirth find that it goes away in the first few weeks, as the stretched muscles and tissues recover.
However, for some women it can take months while other women find their pelvic floor never recovers fully.
If you are still experiencing leakage after 6 months, talk to your midwife or doctor. Dealing with it early on can reduce the risk of it becoming a life-long problem.
Stress incontinence is common, but many women are too embarrassed to talk about it. However, doctors, midwives, maternal and child health nurses and continence nurses are used to talking about it. If you are experiencing leakage, they will have suggestions that can help.
How Long Will I Have Incontinence After Prostate Surgery
Men will typically have a urinary catheter inserted which will help drain the urine from the bladder after the surgery. The catheter is needed until the urethra heals, which typically takes anywhere from 1-3 weeks. After the catheter is removed, it can take several weeks or more to completely stop leaking. Most men who experience a loss of bladder control have symptoms for 6 months to 1-year post prostate surgery. However, a small percentage of men may continue to experience problems past the one-year mark.
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Bladder And Bowel Symptoms That May Indicate A Problem
Any of the following symptoms may indicate a problem with your bladder or bowel:
- accidental leakage of urine or faeces
- inability to get to the toilet in time
- passing small amounts of urine many times a day
- needing to get out of bed often, every night, to pass urine
- difficulty with starting to urinate
- urination stream that keeps stopping and starting
- a burning or stinging sensation when you urinate
- the feeling that your bladder isnt empty after urinating
- sudden onset of bedwetting
- chronic constipation.
If you have any of these symptoms, or if you have any concerns at all about your toilet habits, see your doctor, or talk to a continence professional.
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Yes, you absolutely should drink your eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. But thanks to the many benefits of proper hydrationclear skin, fewer headaches, more energy, a higher metabolismsome people tend to go overboard. Everyone somehow thinks theyre going to get dehydrated, so walk around the streets drinking three liters of water a day, which is completely unnecessary, says Dabney. If you drink enough fluid and wait too long to go to the bathroom, your bladder might contract when its not supposed to because its just too full.
Watch a hot doctor explain why you’re swollen:
Caffeine or alcohol are diuretics, which naturally make you pee more. Peeing more often is going to make that detruser muscle more irritated, which can lead to urge incontinence, says Dabney. There are receptors in the bladder that tell the brain when the bladders full, but if the bladder is a little irritated, the brain will get messages that the bladder is full when its really not, and so it will start to contract, causing leaks. Plus, if youre drunk, your brain is less likely to interpret your bodys signals that its time to hit the bathroom.
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Drinking Fluids Helps Prevent Incontinence
Dehydration can cause constipation or bladder irritation. To prevent dehydration:
- Do not wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink of water.
- Drink up to two litres of fluid each day, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
- Drink more fluids in hot weather or after heavy exercise.
- Take small sips and spread your drinks evenly throughout the day.
Water is the best fluid for preventing dehydration, but other hydrating fluids may include fruit juice, tea, coffee, milk or soup. Limit your daily intake of carbonated drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee because they can cause bladder irritation.
You can check to see if you are drinking enough fluid by looking at the colour of your urine. If you are well hydrated, your urine should be pale yellow . Urine that is dark yellow in colour may indicate you have not had enough fluid. Remember that some medications, vitamins and foods can affect the colour of urine.
What Is The Treatment For Urinary Incontinence
The most appropriate treatment for urinary incontinence will depend on what is causing it.
If the problem is with your pelvic floor muscles, physiotherapy can make a big difference. Medicine can help to relax the bladder muscles, which can help with urge incontinence. Talk to your doctor about whether medicine is right for you.
Some lifestyle changes may also help to treat urinary incontinence. These include:
If medicine, physiotherapy or lifestyle changes dont work, surgery to support your bladder and urethra is an option for some types of urinary incontinence.
You can also try to train your bladder to improve control and increase the amount of urine you can hold. Talk to your doctor or incontinence health professional about a bladder training program.
If you are caring for someone with incontinence, make sure they can access the toilet easily and that its clearly signposted. Make sure their clothing is easy to remove and monitor their routine so you can remind them to go to the toilet regularly. You can read more about caring for someone with incontinence on the Continence Foundation of Australia website.
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Other Treatments For Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor may recommend alternative treatment options, such as:
If you are experiencing urinary incontinence during or after pregnancy, know that youre not alone. Talk with your doctor we can help you get back to exercising, laughing, and sneezing without worrying about a accidental urine leakage.
When To See A Doctor For Urinary Incontinence
In most cases, UI can be treated without surgery. If left untreated, UI can lead to sleep loss, depression, anxiety and loss of interest in sex. It might be a good idea to see your doctor if your condition is causing you to:
- Frequently urinate
- Feel tired from incontinence-related sleep loss
- Feel socially anxious about your urinary incontinence
- No longer participate in activities that bring you joy
- Miss out on big moments or lose productivity
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How Common Is Urinary Incontinence
Its common for a new mother to accidentally leak urine when they laugh, sneezes, coughs or exercises. This is known as stress incontinence.
You are more likely to develop stress incontinence after birth if you:
- have bladder or bowel problems before pregnancy they are likely to get worse after the birth
- have a long labour, especially a long second stage of labour
- have a difficult delivery, such as needing stitches, tearing, or needing a vacuum cup or forceps during the delivery
Women who have a caesarean can also develop bladder problems. Having a caesarean can reduce the risk of severe incontinence from 10% to 5% for the first baby, but after the third caesarean women are just as likely to develop bladder problems as women who give birth vaginally.
A Healthy Lifestyle Helps Prevent Incontinence
Healthy food choices, exercising and managing your weight are important to prevent incontinence. Suggestions for a healthy lifestyle include:
- maintain a healthy weight excess body fat strains the muscles of the pelvic floor. Lose weight slowly and sensibly with improved eating habits and regular exercise. See your doctor for more information
- seek medical advice beware of self-diagnosis. Constipation is sometimes a symptom of an underlying health problem. Always see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment advice
- dont smoke if you smoke, quit. A chronic cough because of smoking weakens the pelvic floor and contributes to the onset of incontinence
- treat urinary tract infections promptly UTIs irritate the bladder lining. Seek immediate treatment if you have symptoms.
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What Causes Urge Incontinence
Urge incontinence is caused by abnormal bladdercontractions. Normally, strong muscles called sphincters control the flow of urine from the bladder. With urge incontinence, the muscles of an “overactive” bladder contract with enough force to override the sphincter muscles of the urethra, which is the tube that takes urine out of the body.
The bladder may experience abnormal contractions for the following reasons:
- The bladder may not be functioning properly because its nerves are damaged by various diseases — for example, diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease.
- The spinal cord may be damaged.
- The bladder may be irritated.
In many cases, the cause of urge incontinence cannot be identified.
Malasana Or Garland Pose
Research has found that yoga can be beneficial for those with urinary incontinence.11 The simple squat pose or malasana can help strengthen your pelvic floor and allow you to contract it more forcefully.12
- Squat on the ground bringing your feet as close together as you can manage.
- Move your thighs a little further apart so they are wider than your torso.
- Breathe out as you lean your torso forward. It should fit between your thighs snugly.
- Press into your inner knees with the elbows and bring your palms to each other in salutation. Lengthen your front torso.
- Next, if you want to deepen the pose, try and press your inner thighs to the sides of the torso. Simultaneously, reach your arms ahead, swinging them to either side and fit your shins into your armpits. Let your fingertips press into the ground or clasp the back of your heels with them from the outside of your ankles.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and work up to a minute over time.
- Breathe in as you straighten your knees and stand.
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Good Toilet Habits Help Prevent Incontinence
Good toilet habits can help to prevent bladder and bowel problems. Suggestions include:
- Go to the toilet to urinate only when your bladder is full. If you make a habit of trying to urinate just in case, youll teach your bladder to signal the urge to urinate when it isnt full.
- Take your time on the toilet. Allow urine to flow at its own speed .
- Go to the toilet when you feel the urge to pass a bowel motion. Hanging on can lead to constipation.
- Give yourself plenty of time to pass a bowel motion.
- Dont strain to open your bowels. Regular straining can cause problems including haemorrhoids , and can weaken your pelvic floor muscles.
- Use correct posture on the toilet . Put your feet on a footstool, place your elbows on your knees, bulge out your stomach and straighten your back.
- Treat laxatives as a short-term solution and work on treating constipation with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.
Medicine For Stress Incontinence
If stress incontinence does not significantly improve with lifestyle changes or exercises, surgery will usually be recommended as the next step.
However, if you’re unsuitable for surgery or want to avoid an operation, you may benefit from an antidepressant medicine called duloxetine. This can help increase the muscle tone of the urethra, to help keep it closed.
You’ll need to take duloxetine tablets twice a day and will be assessed after 2 to 4 weeks to see if the medicine is beneficial or causing any side effects.
Possible side effects of duloxetine can include:
Do not suddenly stop taking duloxetine, as this can also cause unpleasant side effects. A GP will reduce your dose gradually.
Duloxetine is not suitable for everyone, however, so a GP will discuss any other medical conditions you have to determine if you can take it.
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Keep Good Bladder Habits
Train your bladder to work the way you want it to. A few ways you can practice good bladder health include:
- Go as soon as you feel the urge
- Donât rush yourself when you pee — be sure you empty your bladder fully
- Try double-voiding: after you finish urinating, wait a beat, and then try to go one more time
- Gently squeeze the base of your after you urinate and work your way to the tip, to get all the urine out of your urethra
You can also keep a bladder diary. Write down everything you eat and drink for one week, along with your bathroom habits. This can show you patterns in your urine output and give you better insight into what might trigger your leaks.
What Can I Do To Prevent Bladder Problems After Birth
There are some simple steps you can take during pregnancy to help prevent incontinence.
- Drink 6 to 8 cups of fluid a day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Avoid drinks containing sugar or caffeine, as these can irritate the bladder.
- Eat a high fibre diet with 2 pieces of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables and 5 serves of cereals/bread per day.
- Make sure you have a healthy weight.
- excessive twisting and turning activities
- exercises that require you to hold your breath
- exercises that require sudden changes of direction or intensity
- exercises that make you use one leg more than the other, or lifting your hip while you are on your hands or knees
- exercises that involve standing on one leg for a period of time
- activities involving sudden changes in intensity
- exercises that increase the curve in your lower back
Am I At A Higher Risk Of Incontinence At An Older Age
Your body constantly changes throughout your life. As you age, the muscles that support your pelvic organs can weaken. This means that your bladder and urethra have less support often leading to urine leakage. Your risk for developing incontinence as you age might be higher if you have a chronic health condition, have given birth to children, went through menopause, have an enlarged prostate or have had prostate cancer surgery. Its important to talk to your healthcare provider over time about the risks of incontinence and ways you can manage it without interference to your daily life.
Forms Of Urinary Incontinence That Affect Men Only
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects about 50 percent of men over the age of 60, and 90 percent over the age of 85 an enlarged prostate can cause sudden and frequent urges to urinate.
- Peyronies disease is the result of injury or damage to penile tissue, causing an abnormal curvature.
- Painful inflammation of the prostate gland
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