When your bladder calls the shots…
Yep it’s that feeling again, you have lost control, your body says you need to go, NOW, and no matter what you do, urine leaks before you are ready. Urge incontinence is a really common form of incontinence and it is usually due to an overactive bladder.
What can cause Urge Incontinence?
- Overactive Bladder – Your bladder wants to squeeze out urine and you are not ready, sometimes your bladder might not even be full so there is a bit of ‘frequency’ there too.
- Caffeine – Everything from tea, coffee and coke to caffeine in pain killers can really irritate your bladder resulting in you losing bladder control. Caffeine is a diuretic which means your kidneys will increase the amount of urine they produce and it is also known to stimulate your bladder too – double whammy!
- Alcohol – Can make urge incontinence and overactive bladder symptoms worse.
- Excess Weight – if you are overweight you have a 50% higher chance of suffering with incontinence problems, your pelvic floor just can’t take the strain.
What can you do about Urge Incontinence?
- Bladder Retraining – also known as bladder drill or bladder training, bladder retraining is a simple solution. By creating a schedule of your loo visits you’ll be able to understand more about your bladder and how it works – ultimately you’ll be able to control your bladder rather than your bladder controlling you! For instance set yourself the challenge to go to the loo ever two hours or another regular interval if you can’t go that long. If your bladder signals for you to go before your scheduled time, use pelvic floor or ‘Kegel’ exercises or relaxation techniques to control the feeling until the urge passes. When you start to recognise what triggers your bladder you will be able to train yourself to go less frequently, with longer and longer intervals between your scheduled ‘loo times’.
- Pelvic Floor Exercises – Kegels or pelvic floor exercises are essential. Results can take up to 3 months but strengthening your pelvic floor muscles means that your bladder and pelvic organs won’t sag and cause leaks.
- Caffeine and Alcohol – Reduce the amount you consume, but don’t reduce the amount of water you drink! Some women reduce the amount they drink thinking it will minimise loo visits... wrong! This simply makes your urine more concentrated and that can actually aggravate your bladder even more.
- Prescription Medications – There are medications available from your Doctor that can help urge incontinence, however if your urge incontinence is due to a weak pelvic floor, the medication will only address the leaks and will not help strengthen your pelvic floor, so don’t forget to do your kegels too! These medicines usually take up to 3 months to work and they are a long term medication (not just a course), they block nerve impulses to your bladder which relax the bladder muscle, so your bladder capacity is increased. Side effects include dry eyes and mouth and sometimes constipation.
- Weight – Even a modest 5-10% weight loss can help your urge incontinence and take the strain off your pelvic floor too!
- Surgery – is not recommended for urge incontinence, unless other symptoms are present.
Urge Incontinence is a warning sign to your body - you need to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and this is where a Kegel8 pelvic toner can help. Take a look at our range of Kegel8 pelvic toners and specialist manual pelvic floor exerciser products to help you get strong and calm your bladder!