Did you know that 1 in 10 Australians suffer from incontinence?
Incontinence can be a frustrating and embarrassing condition, but there are many strategies that Australians can use to help manage symptoms and regain control of your bladder.
Australia has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The combination of Medicare, Private Health Insurance supported by a network of GPs, Specialists and other health care professionals provides a strong network to beat incontinence.
Here are some tips on how to beat incontinence:
1. Understand the Cause
The first step in managing incontinence is to understand what is causing your symptoms.
There are several different types of incontinence, including stress incontinence (which is triggered by activities that put pressure on the bladder, like coughing or sneezing), urge incontinence (which is caused by a sudden urge to urinate), and overflow incontinence (which occurs when the bladder is unable to fully empty).
Your GP can help you determine which type of incontinence you have and recommend the best treatment options. They may require a blood test to be taken or refer you to a specialist.
2. Strengthen Pelvic Muscles
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, can help strengthen the muscles that control the bladder and reduce incontinence symptoms.
To do a Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine and hold for a few seconds before releasing.
Repeat several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you hold the contraction.
Though this requires discipline, Kegels has been proven to be an effective method of reducing the symptoms of incontinence.
3. Manage Fluid Intake
While it’s important to stay hydrated, too much fluid can increase the frequency of urination and exacerbate incontinence symptoms.
Try to limit your intake of diuretic beverages like coffee, tea, and alcohol, and spread your fluid intake out throughout the day rather than drinking large amounts at once.
However, remember to stay hydrated. But instead cut back on liquids that aren’t water.
4. Use Protective Products
Incontinence can be a frustrating condition to manage, but there are many products available that can help you feel more comfortable and confident while going about your daily activities.
One such product category is incontinence activewear, which is designed to provide extra protection and support during exercise and other physical activities.
Incontinence activewear typically features specialised fabrics and designs that help absorb leaks and prevent odor, while also providing a comfortable and supportive fit.
Here are some popular options for incontinence activewear:
- Reusable incontinence underwear: These underwear are designed to look and feel like regular underwear, but with added layers of absorbent fabric to help manage leaks. Reusable options are a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective option than disposable underwear, and can often be washed and reused many times.
- Incontinence pads: Pads can be used in conjunction with regular underwear or incontinence underwear for extra protection against leaks. Look for pads with adhesive backing that can be easily attached to your clothing for added security.
- Compression leggings: Compression leggings provide support and stability to the pelvic floor muscles, which can help reduce incontinence symptoms during exercise. Look for leggings made from moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to help manage odor and moisture.
- Incontinence swimwear: For those who enjoy swimming, incontinence swimwear can provide an extra layer of protection against leaks while in the water. Look for swimsuits with built-in pads or liners for added security.
- Incontinence workout shorts: These shorts are designed with extra layers of absorbent fabric to help manage leaks during high-intensity workouts. Look for options with moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to help manage odor and moisture.
When shopping for incontinence activewear, it’s important to consider the level of absorbency you need, as well as your personal comfort preferences.
It may be helpful to try out a few different options to determine which styles and fabrics work best for you.
5. Bladder Training
Bladder training involves gradually increasing the amount of time between urination to help increase bladder capacity and reduce incontinence symptoms.
Start by keeping a diary of your urinary habits to identify patterns, then gradually increase the amount of time between bathroom breaks.
6. Seek Medical Treatment
There are a range of healthcare professionals in Australia who can provide support and management for incontinence.
Some of the experts you can consult include:
- Urologists: Urologists are specialists who are trained in the treatment of conditions related to the urinary tract, including incontinence. They can assess the underlying cause of incontinence and develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs.
- Continence nurses: Continence nurses are registered nurses who have additional training in the management of incontinence. They can provide education, advice, and support on how to manage incontinence, including advice on lifestyle changes, pelvic floor exercises, and product options.
- Physiotherapists: Physiotherapists who specialize in women’s health or pelvic floor rehabilitation can provide targeted exercise programs to improve pelvic floor muscle function and reduce incontinence symptoms.
- Gynecologists: Gynecologists are specialists in women’s reproductive health and can provide advice and treatment options for incontinence related to menopause, pelvic organ prolapse, and other gynecological conditions.
- Geriatricians: Geriatricians are specialists in the care of older adults and can provide advice and management for incontinence related to age-related changes.
- General practitioners (GPs): Your local GP can provide initial assessment, advice, and referral to other healthcare professionals as needed.
It’s important to seek advice and support from healthcare professionals who are experienced and knowledgeable in the management of incontinence.
They can provide tailored advice and treatment options based on your individual needs and help you to manage and reduce the impact of incontinence on your daily life.
If you are concerned with out of pocket expenses, reach out to your private health insurance provider.
7. Lifestyle Changes
Australian ranks among the top countries in the world for fast food consumption. Whilst not all fast food is bad for you, the likes of McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and KFC certainly are. Diet among other lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking and being sedentary, plays an important part in managing incontinence symptoms.
Making positive changes to your diet and exercise habits can help improve your overall health and reduce incontinence symptoms.
In conclusion, incontinence can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are many strategies you can use to help reduce your symptoms and regain control of your bladder. By working with your doctor, staying informed, and being proactive about your treatment, you can beat incontinence and enjoy a better quality of life.