Planning Your Life Around the Restroom - Take Control

Loss of Bladder Control

Image of a woman in a park smilingLoss of bladder control is more common than you might think. One in three women live with the lifestyle limitations that come with the inability to control urinary function.

The good news is that you don’t have to be one of them. The majority of people with incontinence can overcome it safely and effectively, without surgery or drug therapy.

Bladder dysfunction or incontinence can occur for a variety of reasons in women of all ages. Women may have more difficulty controlling their bladder during or after pregnancy, after menopause, or simply as a result of aging. If left untreated, it will likely worsen with age.

Leakage that occurs when coughing, laughing, or exercising is known as stress incontinence. This type of leakage is related to weakened or stretched pelvic floor muscles which control urination. Many women also experience symptoms of urgency (known as urge incontinence), forcing them to modify their schedule and lifestyle to avoid a leak. Urge incontinence happens when nerves from the bladder to the brain give the wrong signal or the brain can’t stop the bladder muscle from contracting.

Treatment for urinary incontinence depends on what type it is and what’s causing it. Your healthcare provider can diagnose the type by using a variety of tests. Physical therapists at Lakeland Rehabilitation can help you regain bladder control through a number of treatment options including:

  • Bladder education
  • Lifestyle modification
  • Pelvic and core strengthening
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • EMG (electromyography) Biofeedback

Lifestyle Modifications

Exercise. Kegel exercises can strengthen the sphincter muscles and pelvic floor. This can help you have better control.

Keep a bathroom schedule. Setting a regular schedule for using the toilet can help regulate urinary function. This includes attempting to urinate at the same time each day.

Limit beverage intake. Avoid drinking beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine as these stimulate your urge to urinate. Try not to drink a lot of fluid before you go to bed at night.

Reduce weight. Excess weight can contribute to incontinence symptoms. Exercise regularly and make smart food choices to maintain a healthy weight.

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