Managing everyday life can be challenging when you or the person you are caring for is affected by incontinence, however with planning and with some lifestyle changes this does not have to be the case. Most people find they, or the person they are caring for, can live their life to the fullest.
There are many types of incontinence and each has a different cause and different symptoms. Therefore, to get the appropriate treatment it is important to identify which type of incontinence you have. For most people the use of simple pelvic floor exercises, lifestyle changes and continence aids will suffice. It is always best to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare professional.
Here are our tips on how to cope with the daily challenges of living with incontinence.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Also known as Kegels, these exercises focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and other pelvic organs.
Performing these exercises regularly can help to prevent accidental urine leakage. Kegel exercises, can benefit both men and women who have urinary incontinence. It is never too early or late to begin exercising your pelvic floor. Find out how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/
Many people who have urinary incontinence believe that drinking less will help avoid accidents and other symptoms of urinary incontinence. This isn’t exactly true it can lead to other health issues. Drinking the right amount is important to keep a healthy balance of fluids, it is extremely important for your overall health.
Dehydration from not drinking enough liquid can cause your urine to become very concentrated, the concentrated urine can irritate your bladder and make incontinence worse.
Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day (preferably water), unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
Limit drinking bladder irritants such as, carbonated drinks, tea and coffee (with or without caffeine) artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, and foods and beverages that are high in spice, sugar and acid, such as citrus and tomatoes.
Eat a Healthy Diet.
It is important to eat well to keep your bowels healthy and regular. A poor diet can cause chronic constipation, which can lead to faecal incontinence.
Fibre is an essential component of every diet; aim for 25 to 30 g of fibre every day which should include at least 2 servings of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables daily will help keep your bowels healthy and in good working order.
Physical activity helps prevent incontinence
Physical activity helps prevent constipation by stimulating the muscular activity of the bowel.
Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce pressure on the pelvic floor. Be active every day and do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as walking.
Smoking is associated with a variety of health issues, such as an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Smoking can also have an impact on the bladder, as it’s estimated that smokers are three times more likely to experience incontinence than non-smokers.Quitting smoking could improve the symptoms significantly — or even almost stop the problem entirely.
Good toilet habits
One of the best ways to avoid a leak is to have a bathroom schedule. It is normal to go to the toilet between 4-8 times per day and no more than once/twice a night.
Don’t get into the habit of going to the toilet ‘just in case’ as this tends to result in the bladder developing a smaller capacity. Try to go only when your bladder is full and you need to go. (Going to the toilet before you go to bed is fine).
Discuss Medications with your Doctor
Certain medications, such as diuretics, some blood pressure medications, and antidepressants, can cause urinary incontinence, or at least be a contributing factor.
If you suspect medications may be worsening urinary leakage or even causing it, let your doctor know about all the medicines you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. That way, your doctor can help determine whether these medicines should be adjusted or stopped, or if a treatment should be modified.
Plan Ahead – Travelling with Confidence
Traveling or merely going out in public can be quite stressful for people with various bowel or urinary conditions. The first thing to remember is there is no real reason why you can’t go away as long as you prepare carefully and plan everything in advance.
Plan ahead and know where the toilets are located for your journey and/or destination. Finding out where the closest toilets are and how accessible these are to you. The Department of Health and Ageing has a national public toilet map. National Public Toilet Map – shows the location of more than 16,000 public and private toilet facilities across Australia.
Know how long you will be away from home and making sure you have all the things you may need including take a good supply of all the items you will need – pads, pants, creams, wipes, etc. and a spare change of clothes in case of an accident
Choose the Right Quality Adult Continence Aids
Choosing the right continence products is critical for comfort and security.
Incontinence products also come with different features. Each feature helps to effectively handle incontinence; the key is to choose the ones that best meet your needs. Consider the following features:
Any incontinence pad which is either too small or too large is never effective when it comes to managing fluid leaks. Therefore, it is always recommended to check the size of your waist, thighs and hips before you buy.
The type of incontinence pad you must go for is mainly based on your incontinence problem. If you are among those who experience small or lighter leakage, you can go for only daytime incontinence pads. However, if you experience constant loss of bladder control, especially at night, it is advisable to go for overnight incontinence pads.
Ontex can help you to choose the right products for your needs by using our Product Finder for women and men and order a sample online of the selected product.
With our products, there’s no need to…. stay at home, withdraw from activities, gym, tennis, social activities or travel.
Other Useful Tips
For more information and advice visit http://www.continence.org.au/ or contact The Continence Foundation of Australia National Continence Helpline free call on 1800 33 00 66.
Seek a referral to a continence advisor or physician who is well-informed about urinary incontinence. Be motivated and persistent in seeking the right help