This post was written for us by Logan Biggs of Home Care Delivered. Take it away, Logan, and thank you!
Defeating Your Bladder Leakage: Tips for Reducing Accidents
Losing control of your bladder can feel like you’ve also lost control of your life. Instead of you calling the shots, it’s now your bladder in charge, telling you what you can do, when you can do it, and where you can go.
Nobody’s day should be dictated by bladder leakage, especially when there are so many ways to keep it under control. A little understanding of what’s going on, and how you can manage it manage it, can go a long way.
Bladder Leakage – Why It Happens
Bladder leakage is not a disease, but a sign of another medical condition. Many things can cause it: Pregnancy, lower estrogen, and even gynecological surgeries like hysterectomies. Another culprit is the weakening of the sphincter muscle. The sphincter muscle is what keep the bladder closed. As we age, that muscle loses some of its strength, making it harder to hold urine, allowing leaks.
How To Deal With It:
Strengthening the sphincter muscle can help reduce bladder leakage. The stronger it is, the lower the chance there will be an accident. There are a couple ways you can do it:
Studies have shown that certain Yoga poses can help reduce bladder leakage. Here’s a few you can easily do at home:
Utkatasana – Chair Pose
Start with your feet parallel to the hips. Slowly bend your knees and lower into a squat. Ideally, the thighs should be parallel to the floor. Extend your arms so they align with the head and upper torso.
Viparita Karani Variation – Legs Up the Wall Pose
Lie on your back and place your hands behind your hips. Slowly lift your legs until they are straight and perpendicular to the floor. Arch your back and tuck the chin slightly towards the chest.
Salamba Set Bandhasana – Supported Bridge Pose
Lie on your back and clasp your hands together under your hips. Lift your hips off the floor until your upper and lower torso are flat. Keep your feet flat and arch your back.
Kegels & Pelvic Exercises
Kegels and other pelvic exercises can also help strengthen the sphincter and reduce bladder leakage. When doing Kegels for incontinence, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Find the right muscles – Make sure you’re working the muscle group that’s connected to your bladder. To find it, begin urinating and then try to hold it. The muscle group that contracts is the one you want to target.
- Do enough repetitions – You’ll need to do at least 60 reps per day in order for the Kegels to have a lasting effect on bladder leakage.
- Don’t overdo it – Like all exercise, working the pelvic muscles too hard can cause damage and could weaken the muscles further. Make sure you rest your body and give yourself time to recover.
For more information about Kegel exercises, visit this guide.
Yoga and Kegels will only reduce bladder leakage if the it’s being caused by weak muscle strength. For other kinds of incontinence, the best solution may be an absorbent product.
Some women default to using feminine products because that is what they are familiar with, and worry that an incontinence product will add bulk or be uncomfortable. Today’s incontinence products are very thin, discreet, and easy to manage while on the go. The real trick is choosing the right one for you. Here are some tips to help you out:
- Pick the right product – There are three basic types of incontinence products: bladder control pads, pull-on underwear, and adult briefs. Each one is made to handle a different level of leakage, so make sure the product you choose can handle your needs.
- Make sure it fits – Incontinence products only work as well as they fit. Generally, they should be snug against the skin and cover enough area to prevent urine from escaping.
Note: Medicaid and a few private insurance plans will cover the cost of incontinence supplies. If you have Medicaid, check out this Medicaid guide to incontinence supplies to see what’s available in your state.