Incontinence is a common issue, especially among the elderly. It also affects those who underwent delivery or trauma to the genital-urinary and recto-anal regions. On rare cases, genes may have a role to play. There is no definite cure, but many options exist to alleviate the discomfort and improve the quality of life of those who suffer – most notably exemplified by the adult diaper. Medications and surgical options exist, but for many people, this too poses a lot of other risks. The question of money will also come into play as many cannot even afford to buy absorbent pads.
But dealing with incontinence doesn’t have to be risky or expensive, or even inconvenient. Sometimes, the best way to manage incontinence is through conservative methods that can provide excellent relief during the initial stages of the problem.
This may be one of the first treatments prescribed for those experiencing the early stages of incontinence. The goal of this method is to increase the time it takes for one to urinate after the urge arises. The first step is to list down of the bathroom routine, and after which, figuring out the pattern. The incontinent person is training to resist until the scheduled time. This interval is progressively increased until the goal is reached.
A sample chart for bladder training. Listed are the time, the duration and volume of urine, and what the person drank. Accidents are also noted (http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/ss/slideshow-incontinence-in-women)
This can be difficult at first, but is very effective.
This is one of the most popular methods in alleviating incontinence. It is even recommended by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. The premise is that one has to constantly contract and relax the muscles that control urine and fecal excretion (levator ani, external anal sphincter, and the striated urethral sphincter).
Kegel Exercise is about retraining the muscles that control excretion. Exhibited in the picture are ways to perform the exercise (http://www.repairincontinence.net/)
The advantage of Kegel exercise is that it is simpe, easy to follow, and usually doesn’t take too much of the person’s time. It also doesn’t cost a penny.
Fellow this video for some good tips… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iAkItp6OSE
“What goes in, must come out” is the law of our digestive and urinary system. But for some foods, they tend to lean more on the “coming out” side. Most notorious of these are probably the two of the most consumed drugs in the world – caffeine (tea, coffee, and chocolates) and alcohol. Both act as diuretics – i.e. they induce the body to urinate more. Additionally, caffeine also acts as a muscle relaxant, “weakening” the hold of your pelvic muscle.
Citrus fruits – grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, etc. – and other acidic drinks like soda, can also be the culprit in incontinence. This is because their acidity can lead to an acidic environment inside the bladder, causing it to become irritated. This irritability may also hold for spicy foods like cayenne, curry, and chili pepper that can also irritate the bladder.
With all the restrictions, one may fall prey to the idea that fluid restriction is the key. It follows the logic that if one reduces what goes in, what goes out will also be minimized – but that is untrue. Dehydration will lead to an irritated kidney and bladder, and make one prone to stone formation. The key, therefore, is the right balance. Mary Rosser, MD, PhD recommends two liters a day, and cutting back in the evening for those prone to night time urination.
Koch, K. (2011). 10 things that can make incontinence worse. CNN. Retrieved on April 30, 2015 from http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/21/worse.incontinence.health/
Robert, M., and Ross, S. (2006). Conservative Management of Urinary Incontinence. SOGC