Tips on how to reduce your chance of urinary incontinence from our partners at London Health Sciences Centre lhsc.on.ca
Fact #1: Urinary incontinence affects 1 in 4 women.
What you can do: Lifestyle habits that can help improve incontinence are staying hydrated, limiting caffeine, stopping smoking, avoiding alcohol and losing excess weight. All of these strategies will improve bladder function.
Fact #2: Childbirth can cause the weakening of pelvic floor muscles leading to urinary incontinence.
What you can do: Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) can help strengthen these weakened muscles.
Fact #3: Pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises are only effective if done regularly and correctly.
What you can do: Perform Kegel exercises by squeezing the pelvic muscles for 5-10 seconds then relaxing for 5 seconds. Aim to do 60-100 squeezes spread throughout the day, every day. Improvement is often seen in 2-3 months.
Fact #4: The bladder can comfortably hold 2 cups (400ml) of urine.
What you can do: Ensure you are emptying your bladder every 2-3 hours. Leaving it longer between trips to the bathroom can allow the bladder to stretch and lead to urgency and leakage.
Fact #5: It is important to take your time when voiding to ensure your bladder is emptying completely.
What can you do: Relax when you void. Try not to stop the stream of urine. When you are done try to sit for another 15-45 seconds to see if you can pass more urine. Lean forward and then sit up straight again to try and void a second time.
- Bettez, M., Tu, L.M., Carlson, K., Corcos, J., Gajewski, J., Jolivet, M., Bailly, G. (2012). 2012 update: guidelines for adult urinary incontinence collaborative consensus document for the Canadian Urological Association. Canadian Urological Association, 6(5), 354-363.
- Herbruck, L.F. (2008). Stress urinary incontinence: prevention, management, and provider education. Urologic Nursing 28(3), 200-207.
- Hersh, L. & Salzman, B. (2013). Clinical management of urinary incontinence in women. American Family Physician, 87(9), 634-640.
- Reference: Wyman, J.F., Burgio, K.L. & Newman, D.K. (2009). Practical aspects of lifestyle modifications and behavioural interventions in the treatment of overactive bladder and urgency urinary incontinence. The International Journal of Clinical Practice, 63(8), 1177-1191.
- Lovatsis, D., Easton, W., Wilkie, D. (2010). Guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of recurrent urinary incontinence following pelvic floor surgery. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, 32(2), 893-904.