Urinary incontinence (the involuntary leakage of urine) can have a severe impact on the quality of life of a person by affecting their body image, psychological health and overall wellbeing. The condition affects more than 200 million people worldwide and twice as many women as men, yet many sufferers still feel too embarrassed to talk about it.
While there is no cure for it, there are some helpful preventative measures one can take to control the situation.
Strengthen your pelvic floor
Your pelvic floor is a set of muscles that supports your pelvic organs, including the bladder. Making pelvic care a daily habit is a non-surgical, low risk and effective option for treating urinary incontinence.
This Women’s Health article has eight great pelvic floor exercises (with short videos) that can help keep your pelvic floor muscles toned and work to reduce your problems with leakage or any urges to frequently urinate.
Practice healthy toilet habits
Only use the toilet when you really need to. You may experience a strong feeling to urinate multiple times per day, but if you make it a habit to empty your bladder too often, you’re training it to want to be emptied when it may not need to be.
When you do go to the toilet, make it a point to take your time as straining to go faster can put pressure on your pelvic floor, and gradually weaken the muscles. Also, make sure to fully empty your bladder – neglecting this could lead to a bladder infection over time.
Manage a bladder diary
A bladder diary can come in handy, especially for your doctor who can use it to better understand your symptoms. Jot down the following information in your diary: what time you use the toilet, estimating (or measuring) how much you produce, how much liquid you consumed prior to going, and whether you had any leakage.
Drum magazine reports that someone with a healthy pelvic floor and no urge incontinence problems should urinate around eight times per day, and no more than once during the night.