Speak to your doctor
The first step to managing incontinence is to speak to your doctor. There’s no need to feel embarrassed or worried. Incontinence is common, and your GP will have treated others with the condition.
Your doctor will talk through your symptoms, examine you, and determine whether there are any underlying medical causes for your incontinence.
It is also important to have an open dialogue with your GP about how you are managing your incontinence. There are many incontinence myths, such as reducing your water intake, which can actually make your symptoms worse.
Many find lifestyle changes, such as an improved diet, can significantly reduce the symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Incontinence is exacerbated by alcohol and caffeine, which irritate the bladder, so reducing these triggers may lessen the severity of your symptoms. It’s also worth testing the effects of other potential irritants, such as spicy foods, dairy and fruit juice, to see if reducing these helps as well.
Research also shows for those who are overweight, weight loss can reduce pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor, and so reduce the symptoms of incontinence.
It is important to recognise the role the pelvic floor has in maintaining bladder control. In addition to simple pelvic exercises you can do at home, you can talk to your doctor about referral to a specialist who can use muscle training and electrical stimulation to help strengthen your pelvic floor.
Your routine shouldn’t just be limited to Kegel exercises, however. Zumba, Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are all good ways to strengthen abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. These activities are also enjoyable and sociable, and will contribute to a healthy body and mind – ideal for managing your condition and maintaining your self-confidence.
Medication & surgery
For some people with incontinence, medication and/or surgery may be required. Your doctor will talk to you about incontinence treatments and determine which is best for your needs. In the meantime, this does not mean you have to stop living your life. Products including Depend Active-Fit will help manage your condition whilst you are investigating your options and seeking a long-term treatment.
Staying in control
In addition to the tips above, here a few other ways you can manage incontinence and ensure you’re prepared:
- Carry a spare incontinence product in your bag or case
- Keep plastic bags to hand for easy and discrete disposal
- Pack spare underwear when you’re out of the house, just in case
- Set a schedule to change your product regularly
- Locate toilets ahead of time when visiting somewhere new