Loss of Bladder Control: Management Strategies
Millions of adults have loss of bladder control which causes them to avoid participating in activities for fear of an accident. Even though they may feel too embarrassed to discuss the issue of bladder control loss, the problem may rule their lives. Whether people have urge incontinence from an overactive bladder or stress incontinence causing leakage, here are some effective management strategies which can help individuals take back control.
Bladder Control Strategies
Diary of Eating, Drinking and Bathroom Trips
The first step is to get clear information about what is happening on a daily basis. Keeping a diary or log of eating, drinking, bathroom trips or loss of bladder control can make it clearer can help doctors understand the problem more clearly in order to assess the severity of the situation and consider management strategies. Continuing the diary while implementing loss of bladder control management strategies can help reveal which ones are the most effective.
Limiting Water to Prevent Loss of Bladder Control
While too little water can make a person dehydrated and irritate the bladder, too much can create more loss of bladder control problems and trips to the bathroom. The key is to find the best amount for the individual, but generally, about 48oz. (six 8oz. glasses) of water each day is a good goal. Urine should not be completely clear but it should also not be very dark.
The goal in bladder training is to teach the bladder to wait. Looking at the diary of bathroom trips is the place to start. Pick a goal that is a bit longer than the log and set a schedule for bathroom trips. When that schedule is successful, gradually increase the time between trips.
Extra pounds sitting on top of the bladder increases the pressure on that muscle. Looking at the diary of eating and drinking, calculate a reduction in calories that could lead to gradual weight loss over time. Losing weight will ease the load on the bladder and the muscles of the pelvic floor and reduce problems with stress incontinence.
Practice Kegel Exercises to Prevent Loss of Bladder Control
Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels can help an individual hold their urine in their bladder longer. Once a person can learn to tighten and strengthen these muscles by practicing stopping their urine flow, they can practice throughout the day. Special physical therapists and equipment like nerve stimulators can assist a person who has difficulty in performing pelvic floor exercises on their own.
Avoid Trigger Foods that Cause Loss of Bladder Control
Some urine leakage can be significantly reduced or even eliminated by avoiding foods that make the bladder overactive. While each individual may need to experiment and use their food and drink diary to document their experiences, typical trigger foods and drinks include:
- Drinks with caffeine (which stimulates the bladder and is also a diuretic, causing increased urine production).
- Carbonated drinks.
- Spicy foods.
- Alcohol (which causes increased urine production).
- Smoking (which can increase the urge to urinate).
Consult With a Physician Regarding Loss of Bladder Control
If none of the above self-management strategies for loss of bladder control problems work, a person should consult with their doctor. Some medications like muscle relaxants, allergy medications and diuretics people take along with other heart medicine might be the cause. Moreover, a doctor can look at causes like infections and nerve damage. Additionally, they can offer other solutions, such as medications, botox or surgery.
Prognosis for Loss of Bladder Control Problems
For most people, lifestyle management strategies can make a significant difference in their symptoms. Having problems with bladder control can be embarrassing and difficult for people to discuss. Therefore, health care professionals need to be aware of the risks of this condition in older women, men who have had prostate surgery and overweight patients in order to assist them in getting the treatment they need.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of IncontinenceSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.