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Health Info: Fighting against incontinence!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The good news is you can do something about incontinence. It can even be cured. Surgery is rarely required. Here are some things you can try:
  • Go when you need be. Be very sensitive to your urination threshold – the point where the bladder signal’s that it’s full and you really need to go. At work, set your alarm clock to beep every three to four hours. Go to the toilet even before the bladder becomes overly full.
  • Make a habit of going to the toilet before a long drive. At any point you feel the urge to urinate, stop for a break at a gas station or restaurant. When checking in for air travel, ask for a seat close to the toilet.
  • Go easy on coffee, tea, alcohol, and soft drinks because of their diuretic effect. Avoid spices, artificial sweeteners, and food colorings.
  • Do not cut down on your fluids. Highly concentrated urine is more irritating to the bladder; and might cause even more incontinence.
  • Relax when you pee. You might be in a state of anxiety, rushing to the toilet, but once there, take your time. Don’t rush.
  • Force residual urine out after you pee by pushing on your lower abdomen, just above the pubic bone. Residual urine can cause recurrent infections.
  • Exercise the muscles of your pelvic floor – those around the vagina and urethra, not the buttocks. Contract the muscles for 5 seconds (just like when you’re trying to stop your pee) then relax. Repeat 20 times per session, and do three times a day. Do this while sitting at your desk, or even in traffic, to help strengthen the muscles around your urethra, keeping your urine.
  • Avoid exercise position that might lead to leaks. Stop when you feel you’re straining.
  • Maintain a good hygiene. Clean and dry the area from the anus the vagina thoroughly. Use mild soaps and avoid powders, perfumes and tight fitting undergarments.
  • Pack panty liners and extra underwear for occasional leaks.

2 comments:

Tasha PT said...

I am a physical therapist and really glad to see a focus on solutions to incontinence other than surgery. I hope women will also look at exercises as part of resolving their symptoms. Kegels alone are not sufficient -- as they only work one action of a single muscle. To successfully strengthen the pelvic floor -- which can help control incontinence -- women need to also do pelvic floor elevations (a second action of the pelvic muscle) as well as a series of exercises to strengthen the coordinating muscles (abs, glutes, and low back). Only doing kegels is akin to trying to rehab a knee by only doing quad sets.

I have created a dvd covering all of these exercises that you can find at www.hab-it.com or you can email me for a list of the exercises in text form.

Tasha Mulligan MPT, CSCS, ATC
Creator of Hab It: Pelvic Floor DVD (www.hab-it.com)
tasha@ptpartnersllc.com
Urbandale, IA

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