Do Regular Kegel Exercises
Once you find your pelvic floor muscles, you can complete regular Kegel exercises to strengthen them. Simply contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold them for five to ten seconds, and relax them. The Urology Care Foundation suggests that you complete at least two sessions of Kegel exercises per day. Up to 30 contractions per session.
Daily Pelvic Floor Exercises
These can be really effective at reducing leakage, but itâs important to do the exercises properly.
You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet. To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times in a row. Avoid holding your breath, or tightening your stomach, buttock, or thigh muscles at the same time.
When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds. Every week, you can add more squeezes, but be careful not to overdo it, and always have a rest in between sets of squeezes.
You may have to do these exercises for 3 months before you see any benefits.
Pelvic floor exercises are most effective when tailored to the person. Continence and womenâs health or pelvic floor physiotherapists can assess your pelvic floor function and design an exercise program to meet your needs. Ask your GP for a referral.
The Continence Foundation of Australia has produced this video on how to do pelvic floor exercises:
The Continence Foundation of Australia has produced these videos to help explain the function and role of the pelvic floor muscles:
What Behavioral Changes Can I Make To Help With Overactive Bladder
There are many techniques and changes to your typical behavior that you can try to help with an overactive bladder. These can include:
Keeping a log: During a typical day, write down your fluid intake, the number of times you urinate, the number of accidents and when they occur. Make a note about what happened when the accident happened, like when you:
- Were unable to reach the bathroom in time.
Monitoring your diet: Eliminate or decrease foods or beverages that may worsen your bladder symptoms. These could include:
- Spicy and acidic foods and drinks.
- Foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners.
Maintaining bowel regularity: Constipation can place added pressure on the bladder and have a negative effect on your bladder function. By keeping healthy bowel habits, you may be able to avoid constipation and help to lessen bladder symptoms. The following are some suggestions for maintaining bowel regularity:
- Increase your fiber intake by eating foods like beans, pasta, oatmeal, bran cereal, whole wheat bread, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Every morning, take 2 tablespoons of this mixture: 1 cup apple sauce, 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran, and ¾ cup prune juice.
- Exercise regularly to maintain regular bowel movements.
Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can add pressure on your bladder, which may contribute to bladder control problems. If you are overweight, weight loss can reduce the pressure on your bladder.
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Tips To Keep Your Bladder Healthy
People rarely talk about bladder health, but everyone is affected by it. Located in the lower abdomen, the bladder is a hollow organ, much like a balloon, that stores urine. Urine contains waste and extra fluid left over after the body takes what it needs from what we eat and drink. Each day, adults pass about a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body.
As people get older, the bladder changes. The elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less flexible bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make you go to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may weaken, making it harder to empty the bladder fully and causing urine to leak.
While you cant control everything that affects your bladder, here are 15 steps you can take to keep it as healthy as possible:
What Causes Bladder Leaks
There are two main types of urinary incontinence:
If you have this type, activities that raise the pressure inside your abdomen cause urine to leak through the ring of muscle in your bladder that normally holds it in. Coughing, sneezing, jumping and lifting heavy objects could lead to a leak.
Going through childbirth, smoking or being overweight can raise the risk of stress incontinence for women, Wright says. Stress incontinence in men is rare, and when it arises, its often due to prostate cancer treatment, such as radiation or surgery.
With this type, your brain, spinal cord and bladder dont work together properly to allow you to hold and release urine at the right time. Your bladder may suddenly empty itself without warning. Or you may feel like you need to urinate frequently, a problem called overactive bladder.
Some diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke, can cause this kind of incontinence, says Wright. In men, an enlarged prostate may be the culprit. But in many cases, doctors dont know what causes urge incontinence.
It is possible to have both types of incontinence at the same time.
TRY IT: Keep Records
Your doctor will want to know as much as possible about your bladder leakswhen they occur, how much urine comes out, and what youre doing when leaks happen. Consider keeping a diary of when you urinate and when you have leaks, recommends Wright.
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Tips For Living With Urinary Incontinence
With a little planning, you can manage your urinary incontinence so it doesnt affect your life too much. There are many products available to help you live with incontinence, such as pads, catheters or bedding protection. Some of these are subsidised by the government.
It can help to get into a routine. Plan for outings, make sure you have enough products and spare clothes in case you have an accident, and know how to find the nearest toilet. Its also a good idea to work out how your diet and fluids affect your symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder Syndrome
The symptoms of OAB syndrome include:
- This means that you have a sudden urgent desire to pass urine. You are not able to put off going to the toilet.
- Latch key urgency is the name given to the urgent need you might feel to pass urine as soon as you get home and put your key in the door.
- This means going to the toilet more often than normal – usually more than eight times a day. In many cases it is a lot more than eight times a day.
Filling out a bladder diary will help your doctor work out which treatments would be best for you. Ideally, this should include details of your symptoms, what you ate and drank and your activities. It is best to complete the diary for at least three days and cover variations in your usual activities, such as both working and leisure days.
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Living With Bowel Incontinence
You can help manage bowel incontinence by following a bowel care plan and using the toilet before you leave home. You can also make sure you carry your medications, supplies, fecal deodorants, and a change of clothes with you.
Anal discomfort, itching, and irritation can be common. Here are some ways to help manage these symptoms:
- Wash the anal area after a bowel movement or use baby wipes.
- Use a moisture-barrier cream in the anal area.
- Use wick pads or disposable underwear.
- Change soiled underwear frequently to keep the anal area clean and dry.
Common Bladder Problems And When To Seek Help
Bladder problems can disrupt day-to-day life. When people have bladder problems, they may avoid social settings and have a harder time getting tasks done at home or at work. Common bladder problems include urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary retention.
Some signs of a bladder problem may include:
- Inability to hold urine or leaking urine
- Needing to urinate more frequently or urgently
- Cloudy urine
- Pain or burning before, during, or after urinating
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
- Trouble emptying the bladder
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
Treatment for bladder problems may include behavioral and lifestyle changes, exercises, medications, surgery, or a combination of these treatments and others. For more information on treatment and management of urinary incontinence, visit Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults.
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When Should I See A Health Care Professional
See a health care professional if you have symptoms of a bladder problem, such as trouble urinating, a loss of bladder control, waking to use the bathroom, pelvic pain, or leaking urine.
Bladder problems can affect your quality of life and cause other health problems. Your health care professional may be able to treat your UI by recommending lifestyle changes or a change in medicine.
Seek Help From A Qualified Physical Therapist
Vaginal childbirth can damage the ligaments, nerves, and pelvic floor muscles that support the vagina, bladder and urethra. While pelvic floor exercises may help some women after birth, many need more intensive physical therapy.
Talk to your doctor, who may refer you to a qualified physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy if you have any incontinence or pain that doesnt go away after giving birth. Embarking on proper rehabilitation soon after having your baby may help you avoid more serious gynecological problems later on.
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Do Daily Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for supporting the bladder, and they help control the flow of urine through the urethra. When they become weakened or damaged, it can cause stress incontinence.
Performing pelvic floor exercises including Kegels, squats, and the bridge can help strengthen the muscles around and within the bladder to prevent urinary incontinence.
According to the results of two clinical trials , women who participate in pelvic floor muscle training are twice as likely to see an improvement in their urinary incontinence than those receiving symptomatic care alone. They are also five times more likely to have their symptoms completely resolve.
Those who have had recent surgery, have given birth recently, or have other health concerns should talk with a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
Common Herbal Remedies For An Overactive Bladder
Common herbal treatments for overactive bladder include:
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Treatment For Stress Urinary Incontinence
It is important to have your symptoms assessed by a health professional who will assess your bladder behaviour and pelvic floor and confirm that you have stress urinary incontinence.
The main treatment for stress incontinence is pelvic floor exercises. Surgery to tighten or support the bladder outlet can also help. Medication may be used in addition to exercises if you do not want, or are not suitable for surgery.
There is medication available for treating women with moderate to severe stress urinary incontinence, along with pelvic floor muscle exercises. Older people with other problems in addition to their bladder may benefit from seeing a specialist in medicine for older people.
Living With Bowel Or Bladder Incontinence
There is no single, right way to cope with bladder or bowel incontinence. The challenge is to find what is best for your situation, so you can get the help you need and return to a normal daily life. Talk with your health care team if you notice a change in bowel or bladder habits, and about the best ways to manage incontinence, if it is a problem. You might find it helpful to talk with other people who are dealing with incontinence, too. Ask a member of your cancer care team about support groups in your area.
Here are some things you can do that may help make incontinence less of a problem:
- Empty your bladder every 3 to 4 hours while awake, to avoid accidents.
- Empty your bladder before bedtime or before strenuous activity.
- Limit drinks with caffeine, or and avoid alcohol and citrus juices, which can irritate the bladder and make you have to go more often.
- Avoid hygiene products that may irritate you Women should avoid feminine spray or over-the-counter vaginal suppositories.
- Because belly fat can push on the bladder, avoiding weight gain or losing needed weight sometimes helps improve bladder control.
- Avoid tobacco use which can cause coughing and bladder irritation due to harmful substances in tobacco products.
- Talk to your doctor about all medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements youre taking. Some may affect urine control.
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Male Pelvic Floor Muscles
If either medicine or physiotherapy dont work, surgery to support your bladder and urethra is an option for some types of urinary incontinence.
There are also things you can do to reduce the impact of urinary incontinence. You can train your bladder to improve control and increase the amount of urine you can hold. Talk to your doctor or incontinence health professional about a bladder training program.
If you are caring for someone with incontinence, make sure they can access the toilet easily and that its clearly signposted. Make sure their clothing is easy to remove and monitor their routine so you can remind them to go to the toilet regularly. You can read more about caring for someone with incontinence on the Continence Foundation of Australia website.
How To Improve The Condition Of A Weak Bladder
Start doing pelvic exercises
When you have a weak bladder and you suffer from urinary incontinence, then the best approach is to do pelvic exercises. The reason is that they help to strengthen a weak bladder. However, make sure that you do these exercises properly.
You will need to do the pelvic exercises for 3 continuous months to see the results. Avoid high-impact exercises by all means. For example, you should avoid sit-ups. The reason is that the exercises put pressure on your pelvic floor.
As a result, urinary leaks can increase. On the contrary, you should consider doing Pilates. The best thing about Pilates is that they tend to strengthen your core muscles. If this does not work, then you can consider opting for intermittent catheter at Convatec.
Try losing weight
If you are obese, then it is vital to lose excessive weight. When you are overweight, then it weakens your pelvic floor muscles. The reason is that the fatty tissues put pressure on the bladder. You can start off by controlling your diet.
It will be beneficial for you in dealing with a weak bladder.
Get rid of constipation
You will be surprised to know that constipation can also worsen your weak bladder issues. The reason is straining also affects the bladder. The best approach to follow is that you should include fiber in your diet.
The benefit of this practice is that you will not feel the need to strain and will get rid of constipation for good.
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Natural Remedies For An Overactive Bladder
1. Kegel Exercises
If a weak pelvic floor is at the root of your OAB then kegel exercises can help a lot. These pelvic floor exercises can be done anywhere at anytime and they benefit both men and women. When done regularly, they can really help an overactive bladder.
Melody Denson, MD, a board-certified urologist with the Urology Team in Austin, TX, recommends these exercises for OAB. She says, They will trigger a reflex mechanism to relax the bladder. If you feel a tremendous urge to urinate, doing a kegel before you run to the bathroom will help settle down the bladder spasm and help you hold it until you get there.
2. Avoid Dietary Triggers
Significantly reduce the following foods and drinks that are known to contribute to overactive bladder:
- Soda and other carbonated beverages
- Spicy foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Milk and milk products
- Sugar and high sugar foods
Caffeine, alcohol and certain medications like diuretics are known to be major causes of acute incontinence, especially in the elderly population. Cranberry juice is surprisingly another thing to avoid if you have OAB. Although cranberry juice is often recommend for bladder health, it actually acts as an irritant if you have OAB.
3. Watch Fluid Intake
5. Schedule bathroom trips
6. Delay Urination
7. Try Acupuncture
8. Stop Smoking