What You Can Do
Its easy for someone on the outside to say just dont worry, right? However, this is definitely one of those things thats easier said than done. If you have significant anxiety or depression, please give your doctor a call. For the more common daily stressors in all of our lives, there are things you can do to help you worry less and hopefully decrease leaks too.
One option is to use absorbent products, so that the only person that knows you leaked is you. NAFC recently conducted a study that found that those who felt positively about wearing absorbent products said it was because it made them feel more protected and in control. And who doesnt want to feel more in control? Plus, Lily Bird can help take the stress out of going to the store by delivering pads and disposable underwear straight to your door.
Dont forget about trying pilates to doing Kegels or making dietary changes to see if that helps with incontinence or stress, too. Whether your stress is a symptom or a cause, getting it under control can help no matter what situation youre in.
~Written by Lily Bird, a proud Trusted Partner of NAFC
What Home Treatments Work
You can treat stress incontinence at home by:
Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and you can do them anywhere, anytime.
To do Kegel exercises, you must first identify the right muscles the easiest way to do this is to stop your urine mid-stream. Once identified, you should squeeze these muscles for 5 seconds, then release for 5 seconds.
For maximum effect you should carry out the exercise 10 times, 3 times per day. These are perfect to carry out whilst watching TV at home or at your desk at work!
Training Your Bladder
This is a great way to train your bladder to hold your urine for longer.
To begin, make a bladder diary by tracking how often you go to the bathroom on a normal day. Then, start by slowly adding 15 minutes in between visits to the bathroom.
By gradually training your bladder to hold the urine for a longer amount of time, this will help your bladder to hold more urine before signaling the need to go.
Extra weight puts unnecessary pressure on your bladder and the supporting muscles.
Changing Your Drinking Habits
Drinks that include caffeine or alcohol may be making your bladder leakage worse.
Alcohol and caffeine increase the production of urine and can cause a person to need to use the bathroom more often. They also irritate the bladder making your incontinence symptoms worse.
Smoking can cause many health problems including making incontinence worse.
Solutions For A Leaky Bladder
Research has found that at least half of people with urinary incontinence dont discuss the condition with a health care provider. But theres no need to feel embarrassed. If you have a leaky bladder, youre definitely not alone. Bladder leakage, or urinary incontinence, affects women and men of all ages, though it becomes more common later in life.
And its definitely worth discussing, because of the many ways it can interfere with enjoying daily lifefrom exercise and travel to social outings and romance, says E. James Wright, M.D., director of urology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
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Medical Treatments For When Simple Things Are Not Enough
If you have tried some of the simple things listed above, but your urinary incontinence has not improved, then I suggest you make an appointment to see your health care provider. You may need to see a specialist, such as a urogynecologist or a urologist, for further evaluation and diagnosis. This will provide you with the treatment you need and exclude any potentially serious underlying medical condition.
1. Medications that relax the bladder wall like Ditropan, Detrol, and Vesicare, are generally effective for urgency incontinence. Vaginal estrogen can often treat urgency incontinence caused by vaginal dryness.
If you have an overflow or urge incontinence from an enlarged prostate, then two types of medications may be effective. Hytrin, Cardura, and Flomax work by relaxing the muscles in the prostate and around the bladder neck. Proscar and Avodart work by shrinking the prostate. A combination of these two types of medications may be more effective than one alone.
2. Pessaries have been successfully used to treat stress urinary incontinence in women. A pessary is a prosthetic device inserted into the vagina to provide structural support to the urinary bladder and other surrounding organs. It is often a good option to avoid surgical repair. There are many types and sizes of pessaries that can be custom fitted by your health care provider.
What Can I Do To Help Me Stop The Embarrassment Of Leaking Especially With Sneezing Or Exercise
Well, here’s 3 things you can do:
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Key Points To Remember
- Surgery is usually done only after other treatments for stress incontinence have failed.
- You may be able to treat stress incontinence by doing pelvic floor exercises . They may help you control your bladder when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or exercise.
- Medicines may help you control urine leaks, but they don’t work for everyone. You can also try a pessary to deal with symptoms.
- Incontinence can have more than one cause. Surgery can fix stress urinary incontinence. But if you have mixed urinary incontinence, you may still have urgency symptoms after surgery.
- Surgery works better than any other treatment for stress urinary incontinence in women.footnote 1 But sometimes surgery for stress incontinence causes new symptoms of urgency or urge incontinence. And sometimes symptoms come back.
- Surgery has risks, including trouble urinating after surgery, injury to the bladder or other pelvic organs, problems caused by the mesh tape used in surgery, infection, and problems linked to anesthesia.
Supervised Pelvic Floor Training
I realize that this article is about self-help measures to stop stress incontinence, but understanding the differences between supervised and unsupervised pelvic floor strengthening is necessary for two reasons. First, supervised training is the widely accepted recommended approach so I would be doing a disservice not to mention it. Second, supervised training has been shown to be the more effective approach so if doing these exercises on your own fails to significantly improve your symptoms, all is not lost.
In contrast to unsupervised pelvic floor muscle training, training supervised by a pelvic health physiotherapist offers:
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Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy To Treat Urinary Incontinence
The least invasive option over the long term is pelvic floor physical therapy. Yes, the internal exam necessary during your pelvic floor PT evaluation may seem a little scary, it really isnt Your pelvic floor PT isnt going to put you through anything unnecessarily, and they are there to make sure you get the best possible care to resolve your symptoms. In the case of a healthy body aware person, pelvic floor PT may resolve your stress in continence in only a couple of sessions, but even for someone who needs a longer course of treatment, 4-5 sessions are generally sufficient to show significant improvement.
And Heres What Some Other People Think About The Women’s Health Specialist Help They Got From Dr Dawn
“I suffered for 7 months before Dr. Dawn was recommended to me I felt better instantly just from knowing that someone actually knew and understood what I was going through.”
Sarah29, Encinitas, CA
“I went to another PT clinic which didnt help me at all and it was my co-worker who started asking around and we got recommended to see Dr. Dawnshe and the whole team are great and she helped me get over my pelvic pain. Thank you.”
Tonya43, Carlsbad, CA
“My problem with incontinence started after my first child and only got worse after my second son was born. The doctor told me it would just go away, but that didnt happen. I was recommended to see Dr. Dawn by someone at work and I told her my priority was to be able to run and workout without feeling embarrassed. I achieved that and now Im feeling much better than I ever thought possible.” Thank you Dr. Dawn so very much!”
Brenda36, Vista, CA
“Dr. Dawn takes the time to actually show you how to do each exercise correctly. I always get the feeling that she cares enough to have thought about all of the exercises she gives you and that makes you feel more confident and sure that they are going to make a difference like you’d hope.”
Connie42, Del Mar, CA
See more reviews
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Managing Stress Urinary Incontinence
While your body is healing after the surgery, you will want to wear absorbent pads in order to prevent urine leakage onto your clothing or the bed. Patients who are overweight are encouraged to lose weight since excess weight can press on the bladder and worsen stress urinary incontinence.
Engaging in light physical activity is usually recommended by doctors. Diuretics such as coffee, tea, and alcohol should be reduced or avoided altogether. If your urinary incontinence also happens at night, it is recommended to avoid consuming liquids two hours before bedtime.
Special exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles, such as Kegel exercises, can also help with improving bladder control. Your doctor can explain how and how often to do these exercises.
Turn On Your Pelvic Floor
Consciously contracting your pelvic floor muscles prior to coughing or other activity that causes leakage can help reduce or prevent it. This isnt surprising pelvic floor muscle activation occurs naturally and automatically in continent women for just this reason.
You can do this by contracting the muscles that you would need to turn on in order to stop urinating mid-stream. Not sure if youre turning them on correctly? Try it on your next trip to the bathroom .
Learning how to activate your pelvic floor can be a challenge for many women with incontinence, but with some instruction and training you will be able to do it . The aim of pelvic floor muscle training is to improve the bodys ability to both consciously, and automatically, contract these muscles to effectively manage pressure changes caused by physical exertion.
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Why Have I Suddenly Become Incontinent
At some point in almost every womanâs life, she will ask herself this question.
First and foremost, youâre not alone. 58 million Americans suffer from an overactive bladder and may develop urge incontinence . The cause of an overactive bladder is most often literally out of a womanâs control. Somewhere, somehow the signaling pathway between the brain and the bladder has malfunctioned.
If this occurs all of a sudden then itâs important to have an evaluation to rule out:
- Urinary tract infection – usually associated with burning or pain
- Urinary retention – bladder has slowly stretched over the years and now is overflowing
- Neurologic cause – pelvic surgery, multiple sclerosis
- New onset diabetes – high blood sugars wreck havoc on the bladder
Donât worry weâll get into the treatment options for an overactive bladder shortly.
There are other types of urinary incontinence as well. Up to 35% of women have leakage with coughing, sneezing, or laughing at their husbands . The main risk factors for stress incontinence include:
Worry not! We can treat stress incontinence as well.
Now men you donât get off the hook on this one. You may also suddenly become incontinent.
The number one cause of incontinence in men is called overflow incontinence. This most commonly occurs because the prostate is blocking the flow of urine out of the bladder. Over time the bladder becomes stretched. Eventually the bladder yells âNo Mas!â and urine starts leaking out.
Know What To Expect From Physical Therapy
A 2018 review of 31 research trials found that 56 percent of women who did pelvic floor therapy reported being cured of stress incontinence, compared with 6 percent of women in control groups. If you think of the pelvic floor as an elevator, the goal of physical therapy is to make sure it can go up to the penthouse and all the way down to the ground floor . Sometimes those muscles are too weak to make it to the top floor, and Kegels can help strengthen them, Dr. Pagliano said. But in some women the muscles are overactive, stuck at the third or fourth floor. In those cases the focus is on learning how to fully relax them.
Just a heads up: Physical therapy often includes an internal exam, with the therapist inserting a finger in your vagina while you contract and relax your pelvic floor. Sometimes therapists will use internal or external electrodes or ultrasound to gather visual feedback on how effectively youre performing the exercises, she said.
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The Best Products To Manage Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence usually means small leaks when you cough, sneeze or laugh meaning most of the time light moderate incontinence products will be effective in keeping your leaks under control.
You can find a great selection of products specifically for stress incontinence here.
Other great products are available to help manage your stress incontinence which you can find here
How Is It Treated
Incontinence can have more than one cause, so your doctor will treat the main cause first. Surgery for stress incontinence is usually done only after other treatments have failed.
Other treatments you might try include:
- Kegel exercises. These are also called pelvic floor exercises. They strengthen the pelvic muscles that control urination. You can do these exercises at any time without anyone knowing you’re doing them. Women who do Kegel exercises are more likely to improve, and even cure, their incontinence. These women had fewer leakage problems a day and said their quality of life was better.2
- Medicines. These can be used to reduce how often you leak and can improve your quality of life. But medicines rarely cure stress incontinence.3
- Pessaries. A pessary, which is a rubber device inserted into the vagina to support the bladder, may help prevent leaking. Pessaries have no serious side effects. They can be used at home, and they don’t limit other options. They work well in treating mild to moderate incontinence.
- Electrical stimulation, which sends a mild electric current to nerves in the lower back or the pelvic muscles that are involved in urination. Electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles may reduce how often you leak.4
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What If I Become Permanently Incontinent An Expert Is Here To Help
âIn this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.â – Benjamin Franklin
This is still true today. Unless of course you’re some large U.S. corporation and then taxes seem to be optional. What is not so certain is becoming permanently incontinent. Although there are a number of permanent conditions in medicine, bladder incontinence does not need to be one of them.
Too many women incorrectly assume that bladder leakage is âa normal part of getting oldâ and you âjust have to live with itâ like mom or grandma. Neither are true. Safe bladder incontinence therapies are available so you can get back to the life you deserve.
To be honest, there are some women and men who have severe incontinence. When left ignored for too long, permanent bladder damage can occur. Catheters and major surgeries may be necessary to avoid permanent incontinence.
At VirtuCare we believe prevention is the best medicine. Letâs review why someone would become incontinent, what you should do about and how to prevent this from turning into something more serious.