The expression “I laughed so hard I wet my pants” is often used in a lighthearted way. But it's not funny at all for the millions of women who leak urine when they sneeze, laugh or cough.
Women are embarrassed by the condition. And some women live with it because they believe there’s nothing they can do about it”
- Dr. May Wakamatsu, Director of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Millions of women experience urinary incontinence, which can also be referred to as the involuntary loss of urine. Some may lose a few drops of urine while jogging or coughing. Others may feel a strong, sudden urge to urine before leaving a big puddle on the floor. Incontinence affects every woman differently.
Nonetheless, it is undeniable that suffering from incontinence is bothersome and debilitating. The risk of public embarrassment keeps you from enjoying many activities with your loved ones. Also, it has a severe impact on your sexual activity and emotional well-being.
There are many of us suffering in silence, hiding it from our spouse and family members. Urinary incontinence is a problem, but you have what it takes to prevent it from hindering your life. A better understanding of what Urinary Incontinence is can help you fight it back!
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Incontinence occurs because of problems with muscles and nerves that help to hold or release urine. The body stores urine in the bladder. The bladder connects to the urethra, which is a tube through which urine leaves our body.
During urination, the bladder muscles contract, forcing urine out of the bladder and into the urethra. At the same time, sphincter muscles surrounding the urethra relax, letting the urine pass out of the body.
Incontinence will occur if the bladder muscles suddenly contract or the sphincter muscles are not strong enough to hold back urine. In some cases, obesity may have contributed to incontinence. The increased abdominal pressure in an obese person can affect bladder control and lead to incontinence.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
Problems with bladder control can be categorized under these 2 main categories: Stress Incontinence or Urge Incontinence.
This occurs when physical activity puts pressure on your bladder. These physical activities can be small daily activities such as coughing, sneezing, or even just take a jog in the park. You may not experience incontinence every time you do one of these activities. But any pressure-increasing activities may make you more vulnerable to unintentional leakage.
A common cause of stress incontinence is due to childbirth. During delivery, any nerve or tissue damage can result in the poor function of your pelvic floor muscles. Incontinence can then occurs either right after your childbirth, or a few years later.
On the other hand, urge incontinence is commonly known as overactive bladder. It’s caused by unpredictable contractions of muscles in the bladder wall. Overactive bladder usually stems from a temporary condition such as a bladder infection, or a chronic condition.
Symptoms of an overactive bladder include needing to urinate often or urgently (eight or more times during the day and several times at night); leaking urine; and waking from sleep to urinate. Postmenopausal women are more likely to develop overactive bladder, possibly due to age-related changes in the bladder lining and muscle.
Not everything is all gloom and doom if you're suffering from incontinence. If you're looking for non-invasive methods to fight against urinary incontinence, look no further! Many women have found improvement without medication or surgery. Here are 3 recommended tips that will get you started!
Bladder training is like urinating on a schedule. This is strongly recommended for women with an overactive bladder. It helps you learn to gradually increase the amount of urine you can comfortably hold without leaking.
Many women do not know that they should be able to wait three to six hours between urinating. Bladder training retrains the way the brain and bladder interact to give the woman more bladder control”
Here are some Bladder Training Instructions you'll need to know to start on your training!
- Empty your bladder as soon as you get up in the morning. This is the first step of your retraining schedule.
- Go to the bathroom at specific times you have decided on. For starters, you can make a schedule for every 2 hours. You can only urinate again at your next scheduled time.
- Empty your bladder every time even if you feel no urge to urinate. Follow the schedule during waking hours only. At night, go to the bathroom only if you awaken and find it necessary.
- When you feel the urge to urinate before the next designated time, try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing. If possible, sit down until the sensation passes.
- If you managed to resist the urge, adhere to the schedule. If you couldn't, wait 5 minutes then slowly make your way to the bathroom.
- After urinating, re-establish the schedule. Repeat this process every time an urge is felt.
- After accomplishing your initial goal, gradually increase the time between emptying your bladder by 15-minute intervals. Try to increase your interval each week. However, you will be the best judge of how quickly you can advance to the next step. Your ultimate goal will reach a 3-5 hour voiding interval.
- Last but not least, don't be discouraged by setbacks! You may find some good and bad days. But if you continue retraining, you will start to notice more and more good days. So keep practicing!
Tip: Keep a diary of your bladder activity. This is very important as it helps you to determine and monitor your process precisely!
Exercise More and Control Your Diet
Exercising is an important factor in overcoming an overactive bladder. By exercising, you will begin to lose the excess weight off. This relief the pressure pushing on your bladder and pelvic muscles, overcoming an overactive bladder.
Studies have also shown that middle-aged women who are more physically active are less likely to develop incontinence. Through exercising, 70% of women will improve enough so they are satisfied with their bladder control. These women can exercise and carry out daily activities without bothersome urinary incontinence. And you can be like them too!
Start by putting on your running shoes daily. This conditions your mind into thinking that you are going to exercise even if you don't feel like exercising. You don't have to force yourself into sweating it all out. A 15 minutes walk & jog in the park, twice a day is good enough!
Getting into an exercise routine will greatly benefit your physical health, overactive bladder and also your emotional well-being. Some tips on getting into an exercise routine can be found on ASMR Doctor which can be beneficial to get you motivated!
It is recommended for you to avoid food like caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, and citrus fruits and flavorings. The general rule is to minimize bladder irritants in your dietary. Giving up on your favorite Coca-Cola may be hard, but trust me, it is worth it!
Controlling your diet includes watching your fluid intake. Drink only when you feel thirsty. Take note of how much fluid you are consuming throughout the day. It is recommended that you don’t exceed six to eight 8-ounce cups of fluid per day from all sources, including soup.
Lastly, if you smoke, do stop. Quitting smoking reduces coughing, which puts pressure on the bladder. It is also generally better for your health!
Kegel exercises helps to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and it works for all kinds of urinary incontinence. In fact, many women are doing Kegel exercises while they are pregnant as it helps them to control their muscles better.
You can do Kegel exercises just about anytime. Start out by first understanding what Kegel exercises can do for you. And then follow these instructions for contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles to help with urinary incontinence.
How do you do Kegel exercises?
The first step is to find the right muscles. Imagine that you are sitting on a marble and want to pick up the marble with your vagina. Tighten your pelvic muscles as if you're lifting the marble.
Always maintain your focus on tightening your pelvic muscles. Try not to flex your stomach, legs, or buttocks at the same time. Squeezing the wrong muscles can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles. Don't hold your breath. Instead, breathe freely throughout the exercises.
Make Kegels part of your daily life. It is best to practice in a private place such as your bedroom so you can concentrate. Pull in your pelvic muscles and hold for a count of three. Then relax for a count of three. Work up to 3 sets of 10 repeats. Practice Kegel exercises lying down as it is the easiest position. When your muscles get stronger, do your exercises sitting or standing.
For women who have been doing Kegel exercises regularly, adding in a piece of equipment will help to train your pelvic floor muscles better. ComfyGears™ Kegel Queen is designed ergonomically to match your pelvic muscles, which results in more effective training. Many women like to combine workouts with Kegel Queen and have seen improvement in their urinary incontinence. You may want to see their reviews here.
You will want to read the story of Jean Anderson, who revived her marriage with her husband with ComfyGears™ Kegel Queen.
These are the Top 3 tips on overcoming urinary incontinence. Do know that there are non-invasive methods that you can adopt in your daily lifestyle to get started in training. There's nothing to be embarrassed about if you have any issues with urinary incontinence. Rest assured, you don’t have to live with the condition. And YOU can fix the problem! 😃