Almost 80% of incontinence cases can be treated so there is no reason why you shouldn’t explore the treatment options out there. Some sufferers can often be too embarrassed to seek treatment, but did you know that over 200 million people suffer some form of incontinence worldwide?
Generally, the type of incontinence (stress, overflow or urge) will dictate what kind of incontinence treatment you need. In many cases, a team of health care professionals including your doctor, nurse or health practitioner will work with you to diagnose and offer treatment options. Together, you will choose the appropriate course of action. Remember, the first step is always to consult your health professional.
Generally, when treating incontinence it is best to start with behavioural modifications as these can often have a big impact on your incontinence without needing to turn your life upside-down. If you find that these small changes are not effective then chat to your doctor about medications or surgery for very severe cases.
Lifestyle changes: There are certain things you can change in your everyday routine to reduce the severity of the incontinence you may be suffering. Some of the changes you can make are:
- Cutting down on coffee, tea, chocolates, soft drinks and alcohol. All these drinks are diuretics, which mean that they make you produce more urine than normal and make you more susceptible to bouts of incontinence
- Constipation can also put extra pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles so make sure you have plenty of fresh fruit, veggies and fibre in your diet. These will help your digestive system work better and help you avoid constipation
- It’s best to drink about 2 litres of water a day (although try to cut down as bedtime approaches). If you drink too little water your urine may become concentrated and act as an irritant to your bladder
- Being overweight can put added pressure on your urinary system and this will increase the amount of incontinence you may suffer. This is especially important if your BMI (body mass index) is above 25. Lead a healthy lifestyle and eat the right foods to help improve your health and your incontinence.
Bladder training: This method of incontinence treatment is particularly effective in treating urge incontinence. Bladder training is when you delay going to the bathroom after feeling the urge to urinate. For example, at the start of training try to delay going to the bathroom by 10 minutes every time you feel the urge. The next day, delay the visit to the toilet by 15 minutes and so on and so on. Most health resources recommend visiting the bathroom about every 2-4 hours.
Scheduled bathroom trips: This is when you go to the toilet at specific times and according to a schedule, as opposed to when the urge strikes you. It’s normally about every 2 hours or so but chat with your doctor to work out a routine that is best for you.
Incontinence aids: Using incontinence aids or products can help manage the symptoms of incontinence. Incontinence aids make suffering from incontinence less life-changing as you can still partake in daily life without needing to be chained to a toilet. Incontinence aids usually come in the form of super absorbent undergarments, pants or guards, which lock in any moisture and turn it into gel to prevent leaking or dampness. Depend has a great range of incontinence aids for men and women to help you manage any kind of incontinence.
Kimberly-Clark makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.