I don’t talk about the bladder—and the trouble it causes—as often as I should.
After all, bladder control problems, such as leaking urine, are common.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to improve bladder control and quality of life.
Let me explain…
Three effective lifestyle changes
Before trying other types of treatments to treat incontinence (such as medicines or surgery) I highly recommend trying some safe, easy, effective lifestyle changes first.
After all, you don’t have to attribute your accidents and urges on old age. Instead, here are three of the leading culprits…
Drinking too much, especially late at night. I’m always harping on the importance of drinking more water. But there are some things to consider, especially if you’re always running to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
If that sounds like you, try ingesting more of your fluids earlier in the day, stopping several hours before bedtime. The same rule can apply for public outings or long car rides… stop several hours before.
Remember, what goes IN must also come OUT. That includes fluids from soup and fresh produce, too.
Drinking too little, any time of day. Now, I should also warn that there’s a delicate balance here. Because not drinking enough water results in waste buildup, causing you to go more often, but in smaller amounts.
A good way to know if you’re drinking enough is through the color of your urine.
Dark yellow with a strong odor? Drink MORE. Light-to-clear yellow and relatively odorless? Perfect.
Determine—and then limit—irritants. Coffee, tea, alcohol, carbonated drinks (with or without caffeine), and chocolate can sometimes irritate the bladder or cause you to go more often.
To determine if they’re troublesome, avoid them for about a week and see if your symptoms improve. Then, add one item back every three days and note any trends.
More bladder support
People with overly active bladders get accustomed to urinating often—and sometimes even go at the slightest urge. This behavior eventually creates unnecessary impulses to urinate.
To regain control, try going to the toilet at set times. If you’re able to increase the time between urinating little by little, you’ll allow the bladder to fill more fully—eventually eliminating the undesired urge to urinate so often.
You can also try pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegels. (And for the men reading this, even if you don’t have urinary issues, Kegel exercises will help maintain and strengthen your erection.)
You can find explanatory videos online—but simply squeeze the pelvic floor muscles (as though trying to stop the flow of urine) for three seconds, relax for a count of three, and repeat often.
And finally, be mindful about certain medications (ask your physician if any act as a diuretic), excess weight, smoking, and inactivity—all of which can play a part in bladder control problems.
I expand on these—and more—with SIX specific tips to combat urinary incontinence in the December 2022 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“ATTENTION WOMEN: Living in fear of leaks and bathroom emergencies!?”).
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“Bladder control: Lifestyle strategies ease problems.” Mayo Clinic, May 17, 2023. (mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/in-depth/bladder-control-problem/art-20046597)