Do not let incontinence slow you down

You can deal with urinary incontinence and restore your normal way of life.

Urinary incontinence strikes a lot of people, though it is more common among older age groups. It can occur in both men and women, and often leads to episodes where a person may have no control over his or her bladder. When the urge to urinate takes over, it can result in the bladder emptying itself despite the sufferer trying her best to hold it in and reach a restroom.

Naturally, this condition is embarrassing to the sufferer, since it limits one’s social interactions. One is afraid of repulsing other people, or having the leaked urine show on one’s clothes. Also, sudden leakages may stain furniture and beds. All of these factors combine to create constant fear in the person’s mind. Soon, one stops travelling or going to public places or even taking part in extended celebrations.

However, urinary incontinence need not stop one from leading life as always. There are a few simple habits one can incorporate to make sure that the problem does not get out of hand.

* Invest in absorbent pads/diapers. Though this solution seems like a throwback to infancy, wearing an adult diaper solves many problems. One can go about his or her daily tasks without the fear of sudden leaks soiling the clothes or furniture. Apart from the wearer, nobody else realises that the person has suffered an incontinence episode. Also, they are tremendously useful on long flight or car journeys, or in social settings where a restroom may not be easily accessible.

* Try pelvic floor exercises. Often, the problem of incontinence stems from a weakened bladder and flaccid pelvic floor muscles. Strengthening these will help one regain better control over the problem. One can try Kegel exercises to strengthen and tone the pelvic muscles, so that over time, the problem of sudden leakages can be brought under control. Ask the doctor about Kegel exercises and how to do them. It is recommended that one do these exercises for a few minutes each every two hours.

* Drink less fluids. This does not indicate that one must not drink the required intake of water daily. While every person, whatever his age or medical condition must drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day, it is better to stop further consumption of water if one suffers from urinary incontinence. The equation is simple: the more fluid you ingest, the more you wish to urinate. Limit your intake of coffee or tea, and do not drink much water post 6 pm if you tend to urinate a lot overnight.

* Train your bladder. One notices a pattern in the time duration between urinating. On an average, one may urinate every two hours, while in those with urinary incontinence, the time window can be much smaller. Instead of waiting for an episode to occur, empty your bladder yourself. Or using Kegel exercises, try to extend the time period by a few minutes by practicing holding the urine in.

* Reduce your weight. If you are overweight, your bladder will experience more pressure and hence, you will urinate faster. For general health purposes, too, your weight must be in control as you age. Enrol yourself in a weight loss programme and get a diet chart from a certified nutritionist to keep your body healthy and toned.

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