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.
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 an 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 can affect anyone at any age, but it does tend to occur more frequently 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 Incontinence
1. 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.
Ask your doctor about pelvic floor exercises like Kegels.
2. Avoid diuretic drinks.
Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda are common culprits that overstimulate the bladder.
Diuretics make your body lose more fluid, which makes 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.
Being over a healthy weight creates added pressure on your bladder.
A healthy diet and exercise can improve your overall well-being on top of reducing the risk of stress incontinence accidents.
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.
Incontinence Management Options
If you have urinary incontinence, make an appointment to speak with your doctor. The sooner you can get diagnosed, the sooner you can get treated, then you can get back to your favorite physical activities.
Lifestyle changes like diet or pelvic floor exercises may help. In addition, your doctor may also recommend incontinence supplies, such as protective underwear, underpads, or liners.
Intermittent catheterization may also help empty your bladder to reduce leakage issues. While this may sound intimidating at first, many people use urinary catheters every day and stay active.
With nearly two decades of experience in helping people, 180 Medical can provide you with the products you need along with the best customer service around. 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 of your prescribing healthcare provider.