If you live with bladder problems, you probably think you’re alone. However, bladder issues like leaks and increased frequency are actually quite common. In fact, over 25 million Americans live with troublesome incontinence. Many develop this problem later in life while others suffer with it throughout their whole lives.
Living with incontinence can be a challenge, as the thoughts and fear of experiencing a leak are constant. You may change your daily plans to accommodate your bladder, you may not take part in hobbies and activities you once loved because of your incontinence, and you may even be fearful of laughing or coughing as it can trigger an accident. What kind of life is that? Not a very fulfilling one, that’s for sure.
If you’ve never discussed your bladder problems with others, then you are allowing your bladder to continue to take over your life. Bladder problems aren’t something you should be embarrassed to talk about. In fact, you may actually receive great insight from others who could be experiencing the same issues. Furthermore, if you haven’t discussed your challenges with your doctor, you could be missing out on beneficial treatments that can help you regain back control.
Here are some basic tips to regain control of your bladder:
- When heading out, locate the bathroom at your destination.
- Sit by the aisle when on a plane, in a movie theatre, or at church so you can discreetly head off to the bathroom without disrupting others.
- Avoid beverages and foods that can irritate the bladder like spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, carbonated beverages, and citrus foods and drinks.
- When taking a long drive, mark rest stops along your route.
- Keep a change of clothes with you when heading out.
- Practice Kegel exercises, which involve contracting and releasing your pelvic muscles so you have better control of your urine.
- Practice holding in your urine for as long as you can.
- Keep a bladder diary and document foods and activities and how you feel so you can determine your own unique triggers.If making lifestyle adjustments isn’t giving you the benefits and control you need, speaking to your doctor can offer you greater insight and more treatment options.
Your doctor can uncover underlying issues that could be causing your incontinence and offer recommendations to improve your condition.Although living with incontinence can be frustrating and embarrassing, the first step is finally speaking out about your problem so you can start to get the help you need.