May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, and now that the weather is warmer, many of us are ready to get active. You may feel like taking a walk or a roll in the park, participating in some adaptive sports with a team, or even competing in races for one of your favorite non-profit organizations or charities.
However, if you are one of the millions of people in America who live with urinary stress incontinence, your concerns about possible leakage or having an "accident" may be holding you back from taking part in your favorite physical activities.
At 180 Medical, we understand these fears and concerns. Every day, we talk to many customers who have urinary incontinence. We don't want anyone kept back from living a happy, independent, and active life if they are able, so we'd like to offer you some tips on how you may be able to prevent stress incontinence.
But first, let's talk a little bit more about stress incontinence and what causes it.
What is Stress Incontinence?Stress incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence partial or complete loss of control over your bladder.
Most people who struggle with urinary incontinence experience involuntary release of urine from the bladder, often without warning.
With stress incontinence, urine loss may not be as severe, but it may occur more often during exercise, especially during activities that may increase pressure in your lower abdominal area. For this reason, you may also find you're experiencing some dribbling or leakage when you sneeze, cough, lift something, or laugh.
There are a few potential incontinence risk factors to know:
- Age: Incontinence isn't something that happens to everyone as they grow older. It can affect anyone at any age, but it does tend to occur more frequently However, it does occur more often with increased age.
- Gender: Although stress incontinence can happen to anyone, women tend to be a little more likely to experience this form of urinary incontinence than men. Female stress incontinence may be due in part to hormonal changes over one's lifetime, as well as the stretching of pelvic floor muscles during and after pregnancy or menopause.
- Weight: Those living with a BMI above the recommended range may experience stress incontinence more frequently due to extra pressure on the internal organs, including the bladder.
Tips to Manage Stress Incontinence1. Make Kegels a part of your daily exercise goals.
Many doctors recommend that their patients who live with stress incontinence start to focus on exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises may be suggested to help manage your urinary incontinence issues.
Your pelvic floor muscles are partly responsible for helping your bladder hold onto urine until you're ready to go. If these muscles are strengthened, it's more likely that you'll have better control over your bladder's function, depending on the reason for your condition.
Ask your doctor about pelvic floor exercises like Kegels and whether this may be a good option for your individual situation.
2. Avoid diuretic drinks.
Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks like coffee, soda, and tea are common culprits that can overstimulate the bladder. Diuretics dehydrate you and make your body lose more fluid, which in turn will make you need to use the restroom more often. This may cause more incidences of incontinence than if you consume fluids like water, juice, or other healthy and decaffeinated drinks.
Talk to your prescribing healthcare professional about how much fluid intake is right for your needs.
3. Drop excess weight.
Since extra weight, particularly in the abdominal region, can press on your bladder and cause leakage, it may be a good idea to lose weight to help reduce the occurrence of stress incontinence "accidents."
On top of that, fine-tuning your daily diet and exercising more often can improve your overall well-being and make it easier to enjoy the physical activities that you love.
Consult with your doctor about whether you should lose any weight for your health. They can also discuss what could be the most efficient and healthiest way to lose weight for you.
Other Treatment Options for IncontinenceIf you have stress incontinence or any other symptoms of abnormal bladder function, please make an appointment to speak with your doctor. The sooner you can get your condition diagnosed, the sooner you can begin a treatment plan and get back to your normal life and favorite physical activities.
In addition to treatment options such as lifestyle changes and prescription medication, your doctor might recommend the use of incontinence products like padded undergarments or external catheters.
It's possible that your doctor may also recommend that you begin draining your bladder with a urinary catheter to avoid leaking and dribbling and treat your incontinence issues. While this may sound intimidating at first, many people who live with urinary incontinence use intermittent catheter supplies every day and are able to participate in many of the same physical activities and sports that they enjoy. Even traveling with intermittent catheters can be a breeze once you get into a routine.
Has your doctor recommended that you start to use intermittent catheters as part of your individualized treatment plan? You may be asking yourself, "Where can I buy catheters?"
With over a decade of experience in specializing in intermittent catheter supplies, 180 Medical can provide you with the best quality intermittent catheters along with the best customer service in the business.
Contact us today!
Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of stress incontinence and potential options for treatment. This information should not be used in place of the recommendations and treatment plan of your prescribing healthcare provider.
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