It’s estimated that anywhere from 25 to 33 percent of women and men across the United States live with urinary incontinence. Overactive bladder or trouble controlling your bladder can have a dramatic impact on your ability to be productive at work or enjoy your friends or favorite hobbies. The shame and embarrassment of incontinence can take a major toll on a sufferer’s self-confidence, as well.
If you’re tired of allowing bladder incontinence to control your life, follow these tips to improve your quality of life.
Understand Your Diagnosis
Bladder incontinence is divided into two categories: temporary and persistent. The following are a few of the causes of temporary incontinence:
- Certain medications, including muscle relaxants and medications used to treat high blood pressure
- Urinary tract infection
- Spicy or sweet foods and drinks
- A high quantity of alcohol
This type of bladder incontinence only occurs occasionally and can be easily treated and prevented. Persistent bladder incontinence, on the other hand, is not situational and often requires lifelong treatments and lifestyle changes. The following are a few of the most common causes of persistent bladder incontinence:
- Enlarged prostate or prostate cancer
- Multiple sclerosis, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease
- Urinary tract obstructions, such as a tumor
A natural weakening of the bladder muscles will often occur as a patient ages.
Pay Attention to What You Drink
Limiting the amount of water you drink to prevent accidents or the constant urge to urinate might seem like a simple way to control bladder incontinence. Unfortunately, when you limit your water intake, you are putting yourself at risk for dehydration and increasing the likelihood that you will have a bladder control accident. When urine becomes concentrated, it irritates the urinary tract and bladder, which in turn leads to leakage.
Instead, monitor your water intake based on your activity level. For example, if you are resting at your home you will need to drink less water than during and after an intense workout. Cutting back on your water consumption before bed can also help prevent nighttime accidents and leakage.
Avoid indulging on foods and beverages that can irritate the lining of your bladder and urinary tract. This includes caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, sweets, carbonated drinks, and acidic products, such as orange juice or tomato juice.
Locate the Bathroom in Unfamiliar Homes and Businesses
Many patients with bladder incontinence will avoid enjoying a night with friends at a new restaurant or dancing at an out-of-town wedding reception because of the unfamiliar layout. Knowing the quickest route to the nearest bathroom in any situation can help put an end to this anxiety.
For example, if you’re visiting a new friend’s home, ask them where the nearest bathroom is right away. Look for the restroom sign at restaurants or shopping centers. This will ensure that you are able to get to the bathroom as quickly as possible.
Stock Up on Bladder Incontinence Supplies
The type of incontinence supplies you need depends upon the frequency and severity of your bladder leakage. The following are some common supplies that might work for you:
- Disposable underwear. This product is best for medium to heavy incontinence and is worn in place of regular underwear.
- Pads and liners. These are placed inside the underwear and are best for either temporary or light to medium persistent incontinence.
- Belted products. These products are worn in place of underwear and feature a belt, which allows them to be adjusted throughout the day.
- Bed pads. These disposable pads are placed under your sheets and used to protect your mattress at night.
Keep a stock of incontinence products in your home, purse, or car. Some products are specifically designed for each gender, as well.
Understand and Avoid Your Incontinence Triggers
Indulging in your favorite alcoholic drink or eating too much spicy food can lead to bladder leakage or an overactive bladder. Other triggers can also lead to an accident.
For example, you might notice that leakage occurs while you are taking your morning jog. Or maybe you suffer from stress incontinence, or leakage and loss of bladder control that occurs when pressure is put on the bladder. This can occur when performing any number of common tasks, including getting out of the car or picking up your child or grandchild.
Understanding your triggers and either avoiding them or preparing for the situation can help you prevent leakage or control the accident by wearing the right incontinence product. For example, if you suffer incontinence when running on the treadmill, stick to a more relaxed, lower intensity workout, such as walking or jogging.
Bladder incontinence is an issue that affects millions of men and women throughout the United States. If you have any further questions about the right incontinence products for your needs, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Corner Home Medical.