With bladder weakness, Monday can seem even less inviting than before. It’s not just the beginning of another work week, but the beginning of leaks, urges, and trips to the bathroom that keep you from performing your best.
Bladder weakness affects all sorts of individuals, most of whom are of working age. Below you will find life hacks for conquering bladder weakness in different work environments, and tips that can be used in daily life.
Sedentary Jobs: Focus on Health
• Drink when you are thirsty, or if you have gone without water for several hours. If your throat feels scratchy or your skin feels dry, you need water. Dizziness, headache, and fatigue also signal inadequate hydration . Even if you don’t have symptoms of thirst or dehydration, it is important to hydrate regularly.
• If you generally don’t feel thirsty, use urine as a guide. Dehydrated individuals usually have darker urine, while hydrated individuals have light yellow or clear urine.
• Choose non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages. Caffeine and alcohol irritate the bladder, which increases urgency and leaks . At the office or at happy hour, select alternatives to coffee or cocktails.
• Engage in bladder-friendly exercise. If aerobic pastimes like running worsen your urges, try a less-strenuous activity like yoga or weightlifting. Both get your blood pumping without putting strain on your bladder, and recent research suggests that yoga can improve bladder weakness .
• Strengthen your pelvic floor with Kegels, or another similar exercise. Pelvic floor exercises reduce symptoms of bladder weakness and can make it easier for you to adjust to more demanding physical tasks.
• Wear dark, loose-fitting gear if you do engage in aerobic exercise. Dark fabrics hide leaks, as well as the outline of pads or absorbent underwear .
Travel-Heavy Jobs: Plan, Pack, and Prepare
• Mark one rest stop for every two hours of your journey, and more if you see fit.
• Identify accessible restrooms if you are not traveling on the road. Find spaces that are roomier than a train, bus, or aircraft toilet so you can change your pad or absorbent underwear in the most efficient way possible.
Always Pack the Essentials
• Bring enough pads or absorbent underwear for your entire trip. This is especially necessary if traveling to a location where you cannot easily obtain products for bladder weakness. Try portable, discreet products such as iD Light pads.
• If you have night-time bladder weakness, pack a waterproof mattress protector or blanket for overnight trips . Relatively inexpensive, they take the mess away from night-time leaks. And if you can’t fit one into your luggage, don’t worry! Most major hotel chains will be able to provide one for you.
Jobs With Irregular Schedules: Work With What You Have
If Possible, Make a Routine
• Designate time to go to the bathroom, about once every one or two hours. This process, called bladder training, makes the clock – rather than urges – dictate your bathroom breaks . Fear not if things don’t go as planned at first; it takes about three months to fully adjust to a bladder training schedule .
• Stay near a restroom. If your place of work frequently leaves you without a toilet, discuss adjustments and accommodations with your boss or co-workers.
Involve Your Boss
“Dehydration.” NHS Inform, n.d. Source: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/nutritional/dehydration
S. Lohsiriwat, M. Hirunsai, & B. Chaiyaprasithi. “Effect of caffeine on bladder function in patients with overactive bladder symptoms.” Urology Annals, 2011. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036994/
A. J. Huang, H. E. Jenny, M. A. Chesney, M. Schembri, & L. L. Subak. “A Group-Based Yoga Therapy Intervention for Urinary Incontinence in Women: A Pilot Randomized Trial.” Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, 2014. Source: https://journals.lww.com/jpelvicsurgery/Abstract/2014/05000/A_Group_Based_Yoga_Therapy_Intervention_for.7.aspx
J. L. Davis. “At the Gym with Incontinence.” WebMD, 2007. Source: https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/features/at-the-gym-with-incontinence#2
“Travelling With Confidence.” BladderAndBowel, n.d. Source: https://www.bladderandbowel.org/help-information/travelling-with-confidence/
“Bladder Training.” UCSFHealth, n.d. Source: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/bladder_training/
“Bladder Retraining.” Interstitial Cystitis Association, n.d. Source: https://www.ichelp.org/diagnosis-treatment/management-of-ic-pain/bladder-retraining/