By Sara Kayat
Dr Sara Kayat, GP, is working with Depend to provide medical help and advice for women experiencing incontinence.
It can be very empowering for people to take their health into their own hands, and it is often something doctors encourage. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there, and with the explosion in self-proclaimed experts online, some people can be getting the wrong advice in managing their bladder sensitivity.
Incontinence myth #1: Limit water intake
One of the most frustrating ways I hear of managing incontinence is to limit water intake. Whilst you may think that by drinking less water the bladder would be less sensitive, it can make the situation worse.
Not only is dehydration damaging for your health in general, it can cause your urine to become more concentrated, which irritates your bladder, thus making the symptoms worse.
Incontinence myth #2 Avoid exercise
It is often suggested to avoid exercise or activities that would cause an increased pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor.
Many people give up the activities they love, like aerobics and running. Whilst in the short term an activity that increases pressure on your bladder may worsen your symptoms, in the long term, some of these activities are actually more likely to help.
Exercises, such as Rebounding, can challenge the deep core muscles and help tighten pelvic floor muscles to improve bladder control. Whilst you are strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, I would suggest you use incontinence products like Depend® Active-Fit to give you the protection and confidence you need to enjoy being active.
Incontinence myth #3: Incontinence is part of ageing
Finally, I would like to dispel the myth that urinary incontinence is simply a normal part of ageing.
Whilst it certainly is more common the older you get (47% of women 45-60 years old), it should not be considered an inevitable part of the ageing process. I have seen it in women in their 20s.
Bladder sensitivity is usually caused by weakness or damage to the muscles used in urination. Whilst ageing can weaken it, so can pregnancy and child birth, neurological conditions, including strokes and Parkinson’s disease, certain connective tissue diseases, medications, or sometimes as a result of surgery.
It is important not to just put it down to ageing and ignore it. See your Doctor, who will be able to identify any underlying causes and help you manage it through lifestyle changes, exercises, specialist referrals and make a recommendation on incontinence products, such as Depend® Active-Fit.