Have you ever experienced urine leakage while coughing or sneezing? That’s quite embarrassing.
The involuntary leakage of urine is known as urinary incontinence. More than 25 million adult Americans experience this condition. As per the American Urological Association, a quarter to a third of men and women suffer from this problem.
While urinary incontinence can occur at any age, it’s common among people above the age of 50. Weakened bladder muscles, bladder cancer, menopause, enlarged prostate, and damage to the pelvic floor are a few common causes of urinary incontinence.
Fortunately, managing urinary incontinence isn’t that hard. Making a few lifestyle changes can help improve bladder control. Here, we’ll discuss a few lifestyle changes that will help you combat urinary incontinence.
Urinary Incontinence: The Basics
Urinary incontinence can be of several types. However, the most common ones are urgency incontinence and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Urgency incontinence is characterized by an intense urge to urinate, whereas SUI happens when you accidentally leak while moving around. In many people, SUI occurs due to sneezing, coughing, jumping, running, or lifting things.
Fortunately, urinary incontinence is treatable. There are three ways to treat an overactive bladder– medications, surgery, and lifestyle changes. While medicines help reduce urgency, the results often vary from person to person.
In cases where medicines fail to treat incontinence, surgery is done to address an overactive bladder. When it comes to an overactive bladder, sling surgery is the most common surgery performed by surgeons.
In women, the surgeon inserts a strip of synthetic material between the urethra and vagina by working through the latter. A synthetic mesh is often the most preferred option to support the damaged or weakened tissue. However, many surgeons opt for a biological animal or human skin graft. Conversely, sling surgery in men is done by inserting a mesh under the urethra.
While sling surgery is considered safe, complications can arise. Reportedly, individuals who have had sling surgeries involving transvaginal mesh have suffered detrimental effects. Alleged injuries range from inflammation and infection to serious issues like organ damage.
Many of these individuals have filed transvaginal mesh lawsuits against manufacturers of the mesh implants. Coloplast, Boston Scientific, and C.R. Bard are a few defendants in the lawsuit, notes TruLaw.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs allege that manufacturers failed to provide sufficient warning about the potential risks associated with the use of their surgical mesh products.
In regard to the transvaginal mesh lawsuit update, 95% of lawsuits have been settled or resolved. However, lawyers are still taking cases to trial or pursuing lawsuits for settlements.
Considering the inefficacy of medicines and the side effects associated with surgical procedures, making lifestyle changes is the best way to treat incontinence.
Lifestyle Strategies to Tame an Overactive Bladder
Here are a few lifestyle strategies that you can adopt to tame your overactive bladder:
1. Follow a Fluid Schedule
Contrary to what people believe, drinking an adequate amount of water is important to keep yourself hydrated. Not drinking enough water will dehydrate your body and make your urine more concentrated.
Drinking plenty of water, on the other hand, will help you maintain bladder health. However, you need to be smart about when you drink water.
Spacing out fluid intake throughout the day is the best way to manage urinary incontinence. Limit fluids after 6 P.M. to reduce night-time incontinence. Also, avoid excessive intake of liquids, as that will minimize night-time leakages and help regulate urinary frequency.
2. Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor muscles regulate urination. You can strengthen these muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises regularly.
Commonly known as kegel exercises, pelvic floor exercises help contract or tighten the pelvic floor muscles. However, performing these exercises properly is the key to reducing leaks and improving bladder control.
Start by contracting your pelvic floor muscles as though you’re attempting to prevent the urine flow for about five to ten seconds. Release at the count of five or ten and repeat it several times. Aim to do at least 30 contractions per session.
3. Make Dietary Modifications
Much of the leakage can be prevented by making changes in your diet, so why not do that?
Steer clear of sugary foods, especially those with artificial sweeteners, as they irritate the bladder. In some instances, they worsen incontinence by acting as a diuretic, meaning they increase the amount of urine a body produces.
Also, limit caffeine intake. While we understand that caffeine is necessary in today’s fast-paced world, it increases bladder sensitivity and urine production. Chocolate, soda, tea, and coffee are some common sources of caffeine.
Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber will be the best bet for people with urinary incontinence.
Living with an overactive bladder doesn’t have to be an impediment to leading a fulfilling life. Managing urinary continence isn’t that hard. By limiting sugary foods and caffeine, drinking enough liquid in the morning and afternoon, and doing kegel exercises regularly, you can reduce your episodes of incontinence.
Remember that every person’s journey is unique. Finding out what works for you and what doesn’t may take some time. But with patience and perseverance, rest assured that you will overcome the challenges associated with an overactive bladder.