Stress urinary incontinence is a type of incontinence that is triggered by physical stress. In other words, a small amount of urine is lost whenever the sufferer coughs, sneezes or is suddenly jolted for any other reason.
This can be a highly embarrassing condition for those suffering with it and also has a number of other unwanted side effects and implications. Those with stress urinary incontinence might find themselves constantly having to go home early from events, getting rashes on their legs and groins from urine and generally being unable to enjoy themselves without worrying that they might wet themselves.
Fortunately though, stress urinary incontinence is a condition that has a number of treatments and which can be effectively management through a variety of different strategies. Here we will look at some of the best tips for those suffering from stress urinary incontinence which can make the condition far more manageable and which may even solve it completely.
Perform Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are exercises named after the physician Arnold Kegel and which involve consciously contracting the pelvic floor muscle for repetitions.
Stress urinary incontinence is generally caused by weak pelvic floor muscles which are unfortunately not strong enough to hold the urine in when the patient coughs, sneezes or laughs. By performing these exercises though, it is possible to strengthen those muscles such that they are able to prevent leaking more effectively.
To use kegel exercises, try stopping your pee mid-flow. You should find that you are naturally tensing in order to do this and the muscle you are tensing is the pelvic floor muscle. Once you learn what this feels like, you can then practice tensing it at any time and doing repetitions to strengthen the muscle on a regular basis.
If you’re unsure about kegel exercises then an alternative option is to join a yoga class. A lot of yoga moves actually incorporate kegel exercises and can help to prevent stress urinary incontinence as a happy by-product. Yoga is also very good for pregnant women for the same reasons and is said to make childbirth somewhat easier.
Learn the Knack
Simply strengthening the pelvic floor muscle is one option but learning to control it can also be useful on a short-term basis. Specifically, by learning to contract this area at will, you can create more tension just before you sneeze or cough. This means you need to be able to pre-empt these events and then quickly contract which some patients refer to as ‘the knack’.
Wear the Right Things
Tampons, pads or disposable underwear can all be used as ‘back ups’ in cases where you aren’t able to prevent the incontinence. This way you might still experience a leak but you won’t have to ruin your clothes and can clean up much more easily. This is a very useful temporary solution while you work on strengthening your pelvic floor.
Give Up Smoking
If you smoke then this can actually exacerbate stress urinary incontinence as well. This is because nicotine can irritate the bladder lining and give you smokers’ cough.
It should go without saying but in case you hadn’t made the connection, drinking large amounts of coffee or alcohol is not wise when you suffer from stress urinary incontinence. These are diuretics and make you more likely to need to pee, so do yourself a favor and keep them to a minimum.
Drink the Right Amount of Water
If you are currently drinking multiple glasses of water an hour then this will make you more likely to need to pee more often and will make stress urinary incontinence more of a risk.
Check Your Medication
Incontinence is a side effect of a number of medications, so if you have recently started a new course of medication this is something to research.
Go Throughout the Day
If you know that you suffer from stress urinary incontinence, then you can help yourself by going to the toilet regularly during the day. This can be especially useful if you often find yourself struggling with incontinence at night.
See Your Doctor
Finally, you should make sure to always consult with your GP if you have ongoing problems. Your doctor will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and may recommend surgery if other management strategies aren’t enough.