Urge incontinence, or overactive bladder, affects about 15% of women of all ages. Women who suffer from this condition feel the urge to urinate when their bladder isn’t actually full. This can lead to leaks and accidents; symptoms which are really embarrassing and hard to deal with.
If you have urinary problems, it can be frustrating as the fear of having an accident gets in the way of every day life. However, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can try which will ease your risk of leaking.
Get your fluid intake right to reduce urge incontinence
It’s quite common for women with UI to try and limit their risk of leaks by avoiding drinking. However, as well as being an unpleasant way to live it will actually cause more problems as dehydrated urine will irritate your bladder. Try carrying a bottle of water with you and sipping it slowly throughout the day. Urologists recommend an intake of about 100ml an hour; don't forget to include things like hot drinks and soup! Don’t stress too much about this – the easiest way to tell if you’re drinking the right about is if your urine is a light yellow colour.
Try ditching caffeine and acidic foods – though you might not need to!
Being told to give up coffee, tea, chocolate, curries and alcohol is not welcome advice for most people. Foods that are acidic, spicy or artificially sweetened can cause an irritable bladder. However, you might not be affected by all (or any) of them! The best way to find out for sure is to try and elimination diet. Start by getting rid of the offending foods for a week, then reintroduce them one at a time, for a few days each. See how they affect your symptoms – if you find that one causes you more leaks and irritation, stop eating it and try another. If you are sensitive to a certain food it doesn’t mean you can never have it again. Just cutting down on it can help, so you can keep enjoying your favourite things as an occasional treat.
Check that you’re at a healthy weight
At Kegel8 we want to help every woman to feel beautiful and confident. However, medical studies suggest that being overweight causes excessive urination. This is because having extra fatty tissue increases the amount of pressure on your bladder, leading to more risk of leaks. If you are overweight, losing just 5-10% of your overall weight will significantly reduce your symptoms. We've got some tips on pelvic floor safe exercise that will help you to achieve this.
Use Kegels for bladder training
Your pelvic floor muscles are hugely important in controlling your bladder capacity. They support your bladder and urethra, so when they are weak you will experience leaks. Luckily you can use kegels to stop leakage and in some cases, completely cure your incontinence! Our Kegel8 Tight & Tone Electronic Pelvic Toner and Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner feature pre-set programmes for urge incontinence that will exercise exactly the right muscles for you - helping you avoid these mistakes.
Pelvic floor exercises involve the same action that you would use to stop yourself from peeing mid-flow. This makes them a handy way to stop those little accidents that happen when you are halfway to the bathroom. Use this technique:
- Stop where you are and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles quickly 3-5 times
- Relax your body and take a deep breath, concentrating on stopping the urge
- Distract yourself by focusing on something that’s going on around you
- When the urge has stopped, continue to the toilet at a normal pace
Once you’ve successfully used this technique a few times you can use it to train your bladder to wait longer between peeing. Do this in conjunction with your Kegel8 training to transform your pelvic floor muscles and prevent leaks for good.
Schedule your toilet breaks
As part of bladder training, try scheduling when you will go to the toilet during the day. Use a bladder diary for a few days to determine how long you can usually go without urinating. This will help you to figure out where to start. As you find it easier to control your bladder you can slowly increase the time between trips.
Eventually you will be able to go for 3-4 hours without peeing – the amount of time that’s normal for a healthy adult. If you’re nervous about trying this, try only doing it while you are at home to start with so that you know you will be ok if an accident happens. By staying positive, patient and keeping up with your pelvic floor exercises you can make sure that your bladder training is successful and overcome urge incontinence!