Well, your suspicions were true – those episodes of urine leakage, late-night bathroom trips, and agonizing moments waiting in line for the restroom at a school function were not all a series of unrelated coincidences. Instead, you have just returned from the urogynecologist and received a diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence.
What’s next? Is it time to throw in the towel, so to speak, and stock up on adult incontinence products? Should you write off being able to control your bladder and start skipping your morning coffee? These are thoughts that many women wrestle with after receiving the news that they have just been diagnosed with incontinence.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. It can be present in varying degrees of severity, but is always an annoyance! When the bladder is unable to store or release urine in the normal way, it can cause major and minor problems for a woman.
In minor instances, it may just be a very small amount of urine leaked into the underwear. In more major instances, it could mean a significant accident that is inconvenient and embarrassing. Associated with incontinence is a feeling of needing to go urgently and frequently.
The important thing to know about urinary incontinence is that it is treatable. At Zipper Urogynecology, we let all of our patients know that there are many options for treatment and a high prognosis for improvement!
Managing Your Incontinence
What can you do to manage your incontinence in the short-term as you work with your urogynecologist to improve the condition? There are a number of strategies that many women have found to be effective.
- Watch what you eat: A healthy diet is a key to improving incontinence in more ways than one. For some women, certain foods – including things that are spicy or acidic – are incontinence triggers. Additionally, eating a well-balanced diet that supports a healthy weight can have a positive impact on incontinence.
- Sip wisely: Drink when you are thirsty and not out of habit. It is however also important to drink the right beverages. Soda, coffee, acidic juices, and alcohol can all irritate the lining of the bladder – raise your propensity towards incontinence. Also, some women find it helpful to reduce their fluid intake several hours before bed. If nighttime incontinence is a struggle for you, this tip may reduce your trips to the bathroom during the night.
- Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles: Get stronger – below the belt. Strengthening your core muscles through safe exercise will assist in tightening up the muscles related to bladder leakage. Even more targeted is a series of exercises known as Kegels. These simple exercises tighten your pelvic floor muscles, the Levator Ani. Many women aren’t sure what a Kegel exercise is – let alone how to do one! Our team of experts can help.
- Train your bladder, train your mind: Sometimes, improvement with incontinence can be achieved through bladder retraining – which involves focusing your mental energies and muscles to resist the urge to go for a specified period of time. You may start with a small goal – maybe using the restroom only every 30 minutes or so, and gradually progress to being able to hold it for longer and longer amounts of time.
Short Term Changes, Long Term Success
Ultimately, our goal for each of our patients at Zipper Urogynecology is to achieve victory over incontinence. The short-term changes mentioned in this article are intended to be a means of coping and seeing small improvement as we work together towards long-term success.
Receiving the news that you have urinary incontinence doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right knowledge, resources, and treatment options you can regain control of your bladder. Say goodbye to late-night bathroom trips, restroom nightmares, and adult diaper dilemmas. Make an appointment at Zipper Urogyncology and learn to control your incontinence – instead of your incontinence controlling you!