Some people adopt ineffective and sometimes even harmful habits in an attempt to manage incontinence, including:
- Restricting water intake. This can have the opposite effect as a lack of water forces the urine to become more concentrated, irritating the bladder and potentially aggravating Urge incontinence.
Alcohol, fizzy drinks, artificial sweeteners and caffeine can irritate the bladder so should be restricted.
- Avoiding exercise. Stress incontinence is triggered by downward pressure on the pelvic floor muscle and can be caused by activities such as running, jumping, lifting and other movements associated exercise.
However, as body weight is also a key contributor to that pressure, avoiding exercise to manage incontinence is not recommended. Exercise helps manage a healthy body weight, releases endorphins (the feel-good hormone), often has a social aspect and has a positive impact on overall health and wellbeing.
Rather than avoid exercise, simply find a suitable TENA product and stay active and energised.
- Frequently going to the toilet – just in case. This habit can compromise a bladder’s capacity and ‘train’ it to feel the need to go more often. Sometimes referred to as an Overactive bladder, this can be corrected with timing strategies best developed and supervised by a health care professional.
- Wearing dark clothes and carrying spare underwear. These strategies are not sustainable and effective ways to manage a weak bladder. Using a purpose made product like TENA, will not only quickly absorb and lock away any leaked fluid but also provide odour control.
Hoping it will go away. This may be the case during pregnancy or recent birth, but otherwise, diagnosing and treating the underlying cause is the best approach. Without treatment, some cases on incontinence will worsen with time. Some people feel awkward about discussing continence issues, but seeking advice from an empathetic health care professional – GP, Continence Physiotherapist, gynaecologist – should be the first step to improvement.