Nov 17, 2021
Have you ever woken up to find yourself in a pool of your own urine? Most of us have. For some people, the feeling is all too common because they are suffering from incontinence - medical word for unexpected leaks.
The condition can be caused by physical problems or it may be linked to mental health issues such as stress or anxiety. Whatever the cause, you're not alone. One in three women experiences leakage at some point in her life, according to figures from Incontinence Action.
After accidents on holiday and stressful hospital appointments, here are 18 tips that can help you avoid unexpected leaks.
It doesn't just ruin your night out - drinking heavily is linked with incontinence. The more you drink, the more your bladder is likely to spasm, making it harder for you to control urination.
Trying holding on against the urge to go can put pressure on your bladder, causing stress incontinence (involuntary leaks that occur when lifting, sneezing or laughing) and overflow incontinence (when small amounts of urine leak out all the time).
Super absorbent pants are great at catching leaks, especially overnight, but they may make it hard for your bladder to 'breathe' properly. Some doctors recommend cutting back on absorbency by wearing plain cotton knickers in between periods of high absorbency protection.
Leafy greens can help clean your bladder by flushing out acidic waste products that cause infections. Cut back on bran, which is thought to make incontinence worse in some women, instead choosing high-fiber cereals, whole wheat pasta brown rice, and whole foods.
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Spicy curries are tasty but the chili could irritate your bladder if you're prone to cystitis (inflammation or infection of the urinary tract). Spicy foods may also give you heartburn, which can trigger leaks in some people.
Heat soothes swollen tissues, reducing the risk of leakage. in a warm bath for around 15 minutes, several times a day.
The golden rule is to have six to eight glasses of fluid every day. If your bladder isn't used to holding that amount, it might not be ready for the extra fluid if you suddenly drink lots. That means more leaks.
Skipping meals and snacking between them could also force your body into overdrive when you eat properly again. Skipping could lead to stomach cramps, which can irritate your bladder and trigger leaks.
Squeezing and drawing in your pelvic muscles will strengthen them and help give you better control over your bladder so less urine escapes at any one time. Some people find Kegel exercises helpful, but they aren't right for everyone: speak to your GP first if you want to try them.
I know that you're excited to learn all 18 tips, but don't worry, we'll have them ready this Friday exclusively for you. As previously mentioned this is a two-series article.
Here's to your health!