Do you find that Mom often doesn’t quite make it to the bathroom in time, or that Dad sometimes wakes up with a wet bed? Urinary incontinence in elderly individuals is common; studies indicate that 10-15% of individuals over 65 suffer from it.
Incontinence may be common, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that can be done about it. There are products that one can use to handle the consequences of urinary incontinence, but there are also some steps one can take to prevent it. Here are six ways that you can help prevent your loved ones from experiencing urinary incontinence:
- Keep yourself active so your bladder isn’t. A regular, appropriate exercise routine can help to lessen the chances of incontinence. Extra weight places a strain on the pelvic muscles and lessens the body’s control over its urinary tract. As always, of course, don’t just start a new exercise regimen without checking with a doctor first to make sure that the regimen is appropriate.
- Lose pounds instead of losing control. Exercise isn’t the only thing that can help take off that extra weight. A sensible and appropriate diet, combined with appropriate exercise, is the best way to lose extra pounds. Again, check with a doctor first to determine what kind of diet is best.
- Fiber up. As long as you’re discussing diets with a doctor, talk about what can be done to increase fiber intake. Incontinence is sometimes exacerbated by constipation, so make sure that there is plenty of fiber in meals.
- Decaf yourself. Looking at your diet doesn’t mean just cutting out things that make you gain weight; it also means looking for foods and drinks that might be incontinence triggers. For example, if drinking too much caffeine causes you to urinate frequently, don’t drink as many cups of coffee.
- Practice those Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises help to strengthen the muscles that control urinary flow. Tighten the muscles around the urethra for five or six seconds and then release them. Do three sets of 8-12 “tightens and releases” and repeat them three or four times over the course of a week.
- Let smoking go up in smoke. Smoking is bad for your overall health and also affects urinary control. Quitting can be difficult, but it’s one of the wisest things a person can do.
Urinary incontinence is inconvenient and can cause great embarrassment. Helping to prevent incontinence can enable your loved ones to enjoy social situations more.