Urinary incontinence is a problem that is difficult to address because many people are ashamed to talk about the problem. Instead of coping in silence, there are several ways you can manage the condition or eliminate the problem.
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
Kegel exercises are used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that are responsible for holding your bladder. These exercises are often referenced to managing urinary incontinence in women, but the same type of exercise can work for men. It is difficult to give instructions on how to perform Kegels and it is best learned through trial and error. To identify the muscles, you will need to practice during your next bathroom visit. After you begin urinating, try holding your urine stream for a few seconds. Repeat the process of stopping your urine stream for a few seconds at a time until your bladder is empty. Once you become familiar with the muscles and how to contract them, you can practice at other times throughout the day.
Modify Lifestyle Factors
The fluids you drink and how much you drink can be important. If you drink alcohol and/or caffeine regularly, this can make incontinence worse. Limit your alcohol consumption to a drink once or twice per week and try to avoid alcoholic beverages that are more likely to have a diuretic effect, such as beer. Restrict your caffeine intake to a single cup of coffee or an equivalent serving and drink it earlier in the day. Drink non-caffeinated beverages for the remainder of the day and set a cut-off time, such as two or three hours before bed, so you can minimize the chances of incontinence while you are asleep.
If you find you are frequently thirsty, you should consider the possibility of underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes. The use of diuretics, such as those found in some hypertension medications, can make problems with incontinence worse. If taking your medication early in the morning does not help, ask your doctor if you can switch to a medication that does not contain a diuretic.
Consider Prescription Medications
Some cases of urinary incontinence can be managed with prescription medications, but these medications are typically used if you also have an overactive bladder or overflow incontinence. If incontinence can be attributed to overactive bladder muscles, medications can be used to reduce or eliminate the signal causing the bladder muscles to contract. One problem with these medications is you may not receive the signal when you actually need to visit the bathroom. To offset this problem, you will need to schedule regular bathroom visits to prevent your bladder from becoming overly full. Problems with overflow incontinence can be improved with medications that help you fully empty your bladder at each bathroom visit, thereby reducing the amount of urine that is retained in the bladder to leak out later.
There is more you can do for urinary incontinence than wearing protective undergarments. Proper evaluation and treatment of the exact cause of incontinence can reduce accidents and make you feel less tied to the bathroom.