Cорing With Stress Incontinence

Coping with Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence

There are several different types of incontinence, but the most common is stress incontinence. When the muscles around the bladder come under pressure (due to a cough, a sneeze, or lifting something heavy), they let go, resulting in an involuntary release of urine.

A weakened pelvic floor causes this involuntary release.

Certain lifestyle and health factors can also lead to stress incontinence:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth (because they put a strain on the pelvic floor muscles)
  • High-impact activities such as running
  • Back or sports injuries
  • Constipation and straining
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of estrogen
  • Chemotherapy
  • Family history genetics

Are you in denial?

Most men and women don’t want to admit they have a problem and attempt to modify their behavior to cope – drink less, avoid laughing, ‘hold on’ when sneezing or coughing, wear two pairs of underwear, wear long tops and dark colors, or go the toilet often to keep the pressure off their bladder. Few women seek medical advice, believing it’s just part of getting older.

Confront the issue and be prepared.

Ignoring your weak bladder won’t make it go away. The best way forward is to begin a program of pelvic floor exercises combined with purpose-built protection while you get your muscles back into shape. It might be 8 to 12 weeks before you notice any improvement, so a ‘just in case’ absorbent pad should be part of your strategy. Period pads aren’t built for this purpose. It may seem easier to use ‘normal’ pads to avoid embarrassment, but they’re designed to absorb little by little over a long period.

Pelvic floor workout

Fit pelvic floor muscles are essential for good bladder control. To improve the tone of your pelvic floor, do these simple exercises for 5 minutes twice a day:

Before you start, identify your pelvic floor muscle by trying to stop urine mid-flow while on the toilet. This action isn’t part of the workout; it’s simply a way to locate the muscle.

Once you’ve identified where the correct muscle is, Squeeze up and hold for 5 seconds, then slowly release for 5 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.

Once this gets easier, hold the squeeze for 8 seconds, then release for 8 seconds.

Try not to squeeze your tummy, thighs, or buttocks, and don’t hold your breath.

You can perform pelvic floor exercises anywhere – at traffic lights, sitting at your desk, or in front of the TV.

Other tips and techniques

Drink at least 6 – 8 glasses of water or other fluids a day. This dilutes the urine, which helps to reduce irritation to the bladder walls and the possibility of urinary tract infections.

Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.

Avoid constipation, and keep your weight in a healthy range.


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