Does bladder leakage stop you from doing the things you love: playing with your children or grandchildren, socialising with friends or exercising? You certainly aren’t alone, more than 4.8 million Australians experience bladder or bowel control problems.
Bladder leakage – no matter how light – is not normal and most cases can be cured or better managed. See below some top tips for getting control of your continence back from the Toukley Family Practice medical team:
7 Top tips for getting control of your continence :
Use your pelvic floor
Your pelvic floor muscles help you hold your urine. You may leak if the muscles are weakened from pregnancy, prostate surgery, or being overweight. You can strengthen your muscles to improve symptoms. Done regularly and correctly, pelvic floor exercises can help to minimise and stop leakage ask your health professional for advice.
Dehydration can cause constipation or bladder irritation. To prevent dehydration:
Drink six to eight glasses of fluid each day, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
Drink more fluids in hot weather or after heavy exercise.
Take small sips and spread your drinks evenly throughout the day.
Limit your daily intake of carbonated drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee as they can cause bladder irritation.
Bonus tip- You can check to see if you are drinking enough fluid by looking at the colour of your urine. If you are well hydrated, your urine should be pale yellow. Urine that is dark yellow in colour may indicate you have not had enough fluid. Remember that some medications, vitamins and foods can affect the colour of urine.
Avoid spicy and acidic foods, such as curries and citrus fruits, as they can irritate the bladder and make leaks and other incontinence symptoms worse.
It is important to eat well to keep your bowels and bladder healthy. Your diet should contain food that is high in fibre i.e fruit, wholegrain cereals etc. Dietary fibre is not digested, so it adds bulk to stools, which is important to keep things moving and to avoid constipation. A poor diet can cause chronic constipation, which can lead to faecal incontinence.
Physical activity helps prevent constipation by stimulating muscular activity of the bowel (peristalsis). Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy body weight, reducing pressure on the pelvic floor, which is the sling of muscle directly responsible for bladder and bowel control.
Adopt good toilet habits
Good toilet habits can help to prevent bladder and bowel problems. Go to the toilet to urinate only when your bladder is full. If you make a habit of trying to urinate ‘just in case’, you’ll teach your bladder to signal the urge to urinate when it isn’t full.
Take your time on the toilet. Give yourself plenty of time to pass a bowel motion and urine and, don’t strain. Regular straining can cause problems including haemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus), and can weaken your pelvic floor muscles.
Use correct posture on the toilet, this involves placing your elbows on your knees, bulge out your stomach, straighten your spine and put your feet on a footstool if suitable.
Manage your weight
Extra weight can lead to leaks because it puts pressure on the bladder or the urethra, the tube leading from the bladder. This is mostly related to stress incontinence and leaks from coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting. Studies have shown that individuals who are heavier tend to have more problems, and weight loss sometimes can help.
See your doctor
Above all else it is crucial that you seek medical advice – beware of self-diagnosis. Constipation is sometimes a symptom of an underlying health problem. Always see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment advice.
Your doctor can also assist you in:
Ceasing smoking- a chronic cough because of smoking weakens the pelvic floor and contributes to the onset of incontinence.
Treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) promptly – UTIs irritate the bladder lining. Seek immediate treatment if you have symptoms.
The wave chair- helping you get your continence back
Toukley Family Practice has a Continence & Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation clinic which offers a revolutionary therapy for incontinence, called Neocontrol. Neocontrol is a non-surgical, non-invasive therapy for the treatment of incontinence. With no patches, no probes. no pain it is unlike any other therapy available.
How it works:
Neocontrol exercises all the muscles of the pelvic floor to rebuild strength and endurance,re establishing bladder control.
Run by caring and experienced continence nurses, the unique treatment is ideal for patients whose incontinence is caused by a weakening of their pelvic floor muscles.
Do you suffer from incontinence?
You may be suitable for treatment using an accredited pelvic wave chair. Non- invasive and painless, the Continence & Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Clinic & "The Wave Chair" is available at Toukley Family Practice and is operated by highly experienced and qualified Continence Nurses who will ensure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire process.
Get control of your continence and book an appointment today
Continence Foundation of Australia
Toukley Family Practice