It is common for someone who experiences bladder weakness to initially try and manage it themselves because of the embarrassment. Bladder weakness still remains a subject we don’t like to talk about although millions of people around the world are affected by bladder weakness.1 Some of the ways people try to self-manage is by reducing their fluid intake, wearing absorbent products or socially isolating themselves. Consciously dealing with the issue and active planning can be very helpful and help the person to start enjoying their everyday life again whether that’s meeting friends, playing sport or travelling.
Many of those affected by incontinence go so far as to completely deny the issue of bladder weakness: according to the study ‘Breaking the Silence’2, more than 59 per cent of those surveyed believe that the symptoms are simply a temporary problem. A total of 74 per cent indicated that their bladder weakness negatively affected their whole lives.
Our advice: please do not deny the problem and speak openly to a health care professional such as your doctor for advice. With the right treatment and the right products, you can deal with your incontinence and actively participate in life again. There are also a few things that you can do to help improve your symptoms:
Pay attention to your lifestyle and diet
This includes having a healthy diet (not too spicy and not too acidic), and having a good fluid intake. Make sure you take regular exercise and make time to relax. Also if you smoke, try quitting as smoking can increase your risk of incontinence as coughing can put stress on your pelvic floor and cause you to leak. Speak to your GP or local NHS Smoke Free Services to help support you with quitting
Diet is particularly important. This is true for health in general but particularly if you have problems with your bladder. Being overweight increases your risk of incontinence. Losing weight can help you to prevent or relieve symptoms.
With a view to prevention, it is important to know that some foods and drinks can act as diuretics. Certain types of fruit and vegetables (grapefruit, cabbage varieties and root vegetables), coffee, caffeinated teas, carbonated drinks and alcoholic drinks should be avoided or reduce the intake which may help improve your symptoms.
We have summarised here what you can do by way of prevention.
Incorporate safety nets in your everyday life
Make your everyday life easier if you frequently have the urge to pass urine or suffer with urinary incontinence using these simple measures can help:
- You can consider setting up your workplace so that you can quickly and easily reach the toilet with no trip hazards
- Always have spare clothing just incase you have an accident or spare incontinence products including wet wipes or cleansing foams so you can descreetly cleanse yourself
- When you are somewhere new, find out how to get to a nearby toilet before you need to go. There are apps available that can help locate your nearest toilet
- It helps to plan breaks to relax and to avoid chaos. Stress and tension can increase bladder pressure. Maybe you could consider appropriate relaxation exercises.
- Consider clothing that is easy to undo or remove if you have urge incontinence as the last thing you need when you are desperate for the toilet is to undo lots of buttons, undo a belt or zip .3 Also wear dark clothing like black or navy as it is harder to see leaks should it happen.
Be brave enough to confide in others – even at work
The study previously mentioned showed that when people manage to open up to others, it can help them enormously. This does not just mean opening up to others affected by incontinence, relatives or friends, 39 per cent of the study participants with bladder weakness2 confess that they had not even confided to their partner. Having said that, 55 per cent of those surveyed said that they felt much better supported after the conversation.
This is also the case at work when colleagues are aware of your particular situation. Together, you can develop coping strategies for your everyday working life. By speaking about the issue with a trusted colleague or manager you can look to solve problems by lack of resources such as the lack of bins in toilets to be able to dispose of used disposable products, or consider the location of your office so closer to the toilet. Having somewhere where you can keep spare clothing and be able to discreetly change should the occasion arise.
Enjoy sex with incontinence
Many people believe that incontinence means the end of their sex life. Actually, the opposite might even be true! This is because sex naturally strengthens the muscles in the pelvic floor, which can increase the closing force of the bladder, particularly in stressful situations.
Still, little accidents can happen. The best way of dealing with this is to openly discuss it with your partner. Would you perhaps feel more comfortable with a mattress protector? The most important thing is that you do not lose your enjoyment of one of life’s pleasures.
Rely on premium incontinence products
Good premium incontinence products should offer you reliable and discreet protection. Premium products for incontinence are disposable, absorbent and discreet, neutralise odours and are gentle on the skin. Whether you require pads or pull up pants for greater freedom of movement and protection – a broad range of products ensures that you can find exactly the incontinence product that meets your needs and fits in with your life. Being reliably protected is a great feeling.
Enjoy an active life
There is so much that can be done to help improve or manage your symptoms. With suitable and high quality products such as the premium incontinence product range from MoliCare®, you will feel even better protected, particularly in your everyday life.
More than 80 per cent of men and women surveyed in the study have learnt over time to deal with their urinary incontinence.2 You can do it too. You can regain your self-confidence and improve your psychological well-being.
1 Irwin et al Worldwide prevalence estimates of lower urinary tract symptoms, overactive bladder urinary incontinence and bladder outlet obstruction. BJU Int. 2011 Oct, 108(7):1132-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2010.09993.x (accessed 04/2021)