Bladder control problems, often referred to as urinary incontinence, affect millions of American women and men. Almost half of the people experiencing these symptoms are older adults. Although it is a common problem, less than 10 percent of those with incontinence seek treatment from their physicians. They might be embarrassed, assume it’s a natural part of aging, or are not aware that treatment exists.
Coping with urinary incontinence is possible, and help is out there! The following five simple tips can help set you on the path to a better quality of life.
1. Strengthen the Pelvic Floor Muscle
Pelvic muscle exercises (also known as Kegel exercises) focus on muscles that hold the bladder in place and those that control the flow of urine. Making these muscles stronger helps you hold urine in your bladder longer.
To do this exercise, sit comfortably with knees and feet slightly apart. Imagine you’re stopping the flow of urine, then slowly squeeze and lift the pelvic floor muscles up and in. Don’t use abdominal or thigh muscles to help. Relax. Breathe deeply. Let both front and back muscles go. Next try squeezing from back to front. Concentrate on pulling pelvic muscle up and inward. Hold the contraction and then relax. Your initial goal is to hold the squeeze for 3-5 seconds, and relax another 3-5 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times during the day. Start with 20, and then gradually increase to 100 a day. You can do these exercises lying in bed, sitting down, or standing up at any time of day.
2. Lifestyle Changes
Research shows that overweight or obese individuals with incontinence symptoms may reduce their risk of episodes by up to 50 percent by losing even 10 percent of their body mass. (Always talk to your physician before beginning any kind of weight loss plan.) Eating a healthy diet can help avoid constipation, which can be a contributing factor in some types of incontinence. Caffeine has been linked to worsening of urinary incontinence; reducing or eliminating the stimulant may improve symptoms.
3. Clear a Path
Urinary incontinence can pose a fall risk. These risk factors include creating a wet floor surface, hurrying to make it in time, and nocturia, which is waking at night to void. To reduce the risk of falls, use nightlights in the bedroom, hallway, and bathroom. Maintain a clear, visible pathway by removing any obstacles, such as furniture, walkers, shoes, or throw rugs.
4. Make it Easy
Rather than wearing clothing with zippers and buttons, choose simple and practical garments with Velcro or an elastic waistband for quick and easy removal. Placing a portable commode or urinal bottle by the bed is less dangerous than a nighttime walk to the bathroom. For your trips away from home, free restroom-finding apps, such as “Sit or Squat”, are now available for smart phones.
5. Try a Continence Management Program
If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. Available in both Kansas and Missouri, Village Home Health now offers an innovative new program for the treatment of urinary incontinence. The program offers a respectful and comprehensive approach to the treatment of bladder problems in both men and women. Our experienced nurses and therapists have completed advanced, specialized training to assess patients thoroughly and provide both support and treatments that return them to independence and a sense of wellness.
To learn more about our innovative new program for the treatment of urinary incontinence, please call 816-524-1133 (in Missouri) or 913-403-8343 in Kansas, or visit us online at www.jkv.org/homehealth. Start regaining control today!
Village Home Health
913-403-8343 or 816-524-1133