It’s a common condition that affects millions of women, yet no one talks about it. Instead, many suffer in silence, keeping it a secret for years before they eventually ask for help. But while female incontinence stops many women from enjoying life to the full more than a third say they actively avoid situations that might make them laugh it needn’t.
With a few changes to your lifestyle and help from some of the great products now available in Boots’ Staydry range, it can be managed.
Incontinence Treatment by Dr Sharafat Ali
WHAT IS INCONTINENCE?
The NHS estimates between three and six million people in the UK experience incontinence, the unintentional passing of urine. It can be anything from an unexpected leak while laughing or sneezing, to going before you reach the toilet or the sudden, urgent need to pee. Anyone can experience it, but women are more likely to suffer than men, as are older people.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
The chances of becoming incontinent can be increased by factors like pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, a family history of the condition, and aging. It could also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, so you should always see your GP if you’re worried.
There are three main types of incontinence:
Stress incontinence: The most common type in women, it’s often brought on by pregnancy and menopause. It can be caused by weak pelvic floor muscles causing small leakages when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise.
Urge incontinence: Also known as an overactive bladder, this is caused by the bladder muscles contracting too much. It leads to leakages and a sudden, uncontrollable urge to pee.
Overflow incontinence: Also known as chronic urinary retention, the bladder doesn’t completely empty when you go to the toilet so you pass small trickles of urine and it never feels like your bladder is empty.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
While incontinence can be frustrating and even embarrassing, there are ways to control it. Here are some crucial dos and don’ts:
DO: drink lots of water; about three pints throughout the day. Many women mistakenly believe they will need the loo less if they drink less, but this isn’t always true. It can also make your urine more concentrated, irritating the lining of the bladder and making you feel like you need to go more often.
DON’T: drink too much caffeine or alcohol. Cut back on these because anything caffeinated like tea, coffee, and fizzy drinks will irritate the bladder while alcohol is a diuretic, which increases the production of urine.
DO: live healthily. Keeping active, eating a balanced diet, and quitting smoking will help reduce the amount of pressure on your bladder. And drop some pounds if you’re overweight, as it can weaken your pelvic floor muscles.
DON’T: forget your pelvic floor exercises. The pelvic floor supports the bladder and strengthening it can help you regain control. Exercise programs are widely available online.
DON’T: use sanitary pads. They can’t cope with a large amount of urine so instead, use the specialist products from Boots’ extensive Staydry range. The wide selection of liners, shields, pads, and pants offers different levels of protection to keep you dry and confident, no matter the occasion. dailymail