Coping With Incontinence

While pregnant women and those who’ve had children are most susceptible to bladder control problems, men can suffer from embarrassing incontinence after prostate surgery or as a sign of prostate issues. Symptoms range from occasional leakage to bedwetting, and also can be a result of benign causes like certain foods or medications.

But frequent incontinence can signal a more serious condition — such as bladder cancer, kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and even neurological diseases (Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors). While you should visit your doctor if you experience urine loss regularly, your complications worsen, or blood appears, some behavioral and physical tips can tame milder symptoms.

  • Strengthen your pelvic floor (also called Kegels) by contracting and releasing the urinary sphincter muscle that controls urine flow. One study found that specialized instruction from a physiotherapist can dramatically improve the success rate of these exercises.
  • Schedule visits to the bathroom to anticipate overflow. You can also control bouts through bladder training, which includes learning to relax, count, and breathe when the urge strikes, or releasing your stream once, then stopping again after a brief pause.
  • Drink water throughout the day. Dehydration can cause your urine to concentrate and aggravate the bladder. Taking in fluid regularly helps maintain a constant flow of liquid through your system. Sodas and sugary or acidic drinks can irritate the bladder and further dehydrate, so stick with water.

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