Dealing with urinary incontinence (UI) is a common challenge for older adults. More than a third of those 65 and above experience incontinence. Despite widespread prevalence of UI in the older community, there is still a damaging stigma around this issue. UI can affect the social wellbeing, sleep patterns, nutrition, and exercise habits of those who deal with UI. Above all, it can cause people to feel a lack of control over their own lives. However, there are a few ways to take back control of your everyday life. In this article, read about what experts and urologists suggest to their patients to reduce the effects of incontinence.
5 Bladder Control Tips
A study by pelvic floor expert, Michelle Kenway, has shown that ‘using pelvic floor exercises has helped patients improve incontinence issues by 70%.’ If you’ve ever struggled with UI, considering introducing some of these exercises into your daily routine.
Pelvic Floor Contraction- This first exercise is basic but important. Strengthening these muscles over time will help you gain greater control over the muscles that cause incontinence. If you struggle with Urge Incontinence this can be especially helpful. Practice contracting the muscles of your pelvic floor as soon as you feel an urge. These repeated contractions will help strengthen your muscles over time and help you make it to a restroom without leaking.
Steady Your Breathing- You may be interested to know that there is a science behind this practice! Holding your breath, while it may feel like it will help you contract everything together and avoid a leak, actually pushes your diaphragm into the lower organs in your abdomen, creating pressure on your bladder. Take a few deep, even breaths when you are feeling an urge. With enough practice, you may find yourself making it to the restroom leak-free!
Exert Pressure on Your Perineum- This one is simple, but effective! Cross your legs, lean against the side of a cushion, or use your hands or clothes to put some pressure and control the urge. This will help stop your bladder contract and lessen the urge.
Curl Your Toes Under- When you experience an urge, doing something as simple as curling your toes up like a fist can help stop bladder contraction.
Click here to watch Michelle Kenway talk about these tips herself, and get a more in depth explanation of each exercise!
These are just a few exercises that, with repetition and practice over time, can help you regain control over your incontinence and subsequently reduce inconveniences and barriers due to UI.