Managing everyday life can be challenging when you or the person you are caring for is affected by incontinence. However with planning and with some lifestyle changes this does not have to be the case. Most people find they, or the person they are caring for, can live their life to the fullest.
There are many types of incontinence and each has a different cause and different symptoms. Therefore, to get the appropriate treatment it is important to identify which type of incontinence you have. For most people the use of simple pelvic floor exercises, lifestyle changes and use of incontinence aids will suffice. It is always best to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare professional.
Here are our tips on how to cope with the daily challenges of living with incontinence.
OTHER USEFUL TIPS For more information and advice visit http://www.continence.org.au/ or contact The Continence Foundation of Australia National Continence Helpline free call on 1800 33 00 66.
Seek a referral to a continence advisor or physician who is well-informed about urinary incontinence. Be motivated and persistent in seeking the right help.
PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES
Also known as Kegels, these exercises focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles which support the uterus, bladder and other pelvic organs.
Performing these exercises regularly can help prevent accidental urine leakage. Kegel exercises can benefit both men and women who have urinary incontinence. It is never too early or late to begin exercising your pelvic floor. Find out how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/
Many people who have urinary incontinence believe that drinking less will help avoid accidents and other symptoms of urinary incontinence. This isn’t exactly true as it can lead to other health issues. Drinking the right amount of water is important to keep a healthy balance of fluids and is extremely important for your overall health.
Dehydration from not drinking enough liquid can cause your urine to become very concentrated which can irritate your bladder and make incontinence worse.
Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day (preferably water), unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
Limit drinking bladder irritants such as carbonated drinks, tea and coffee (with or without caffeine), artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, foods and beverages that are high in spice, sugar and acid; such as citrus and tomatoes.
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
It is important to eat well to keep your bowels healthy and regular. A poor diet can cause chronic constipation which can lead to faecal incontinence.
Fibre is an essential component of every diet. Aim for 25 to 30g of fibre every day which should include at least 2 servings of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables as this will help keep your bowels healthy and in good working order.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY HELPS PREVENT INCONTINENCE
Physical activity helps prevent constipation by stimulating the muscular activity of the bowel. Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce pressure on the pelvic floor. Be active every day and do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as walking.
Smoking is associated with a variety of health issues such as an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Smoking can also have an impact on the bladder as it’s estimated that smokers are three times more likely to experience incontinence than non-smokers. Quitting smoking could improve the symptoms significantly.
GOOD TOILET HABITS
One of the best ways to avoid an accident is to have a bathroom schedule. It is normal to go to the toilet between 4-8 times per day and no more than once/twice a night.
Don’t get into the habit of going to the toilet ‘just in case’ as this tends to result in the bladder developing a smaller capacity. Try to go only when your bladder is full and when you need to go. (Going to the toilet before you go to bed is fine).
A useful aid is the Ontex Continence Care Tips booklet. The booklet provides tips on living with incontinence and how to continue to live a full and active life.
For a free copy of the booklet use the contact us form on our website or if you are a healthcare professional contact your local Business Development Manager on 1300 788 601.
For more useful tips and advice we recommend reaching out to The Continence Foundation of Australia. They have a free call helpline 1800 33 00 66 or go to their website www.continence.org.au.