This type of incontinence is generally connected to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and usually occurs with sudden physical exertion such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or heavy lifting.
When dealing with Stress Incontinence, the first step is to see if a few simple, lifestyle changes can make a positive difference.
You may be tempted to reduce the amount of fluid you drink but this can make your urine more concentrated, aggravating the bladder and making it more active. We recommend that you drink as normal, responding to your natural thirst. This should be enough to keep the urine a healthy, pale straw colour. As you might expect, drinking too much will just increase the urge 'to go' so just try and keep a healthy balance.
Life’s for living and bladder weakness should never force you to curb your pleasures! However, you need to be aware that caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks are diuretics, which will make you visit the toilet more often.
There is a link between being overweight and incontinence. So, if you have ambitions to loose weight this might be an incentive to start.
If you’re a smoker
Actually, it’s not the smoking itself that causes bladder weakness but the associated coughing that can put pressure on the bladder. So perhaps that’s another reason to think about quitting?
Exercising (without the sweat)
Bladder control can often be improved by pelvic floor exercises, so this kind of physiotherapy is generally regarded as the first treatment for Stress Incontinence. In fact, up to 70% of mild to moderate cases can be improved or even cured by regular and correct pelvic floor exercises over 3 to 6 months but remember, you have to keep up the exercises to make the effects last. These exercises work by re-establishing control over the muscles that keep the urethra shut. It’s never too late to start – even in your 70s and 80s you could improve your symptoms. For a step-by-step guide to pelvic floor exercises, visit the exercise area.
The most commonly used bladder weakness aids are absorbent incontinence products, such as liners, pads and pants. They protect against urine leakage and odours, and come in a range of sizes and absorbency levels. Click here to learn more about the benefits of incontinence protection.