- Do daily pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises can be effective at reducing leaks, but it's important to do them properly. To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the pelvic floor muscles 10 to 15 times.
Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, bottom or thigh muscles at the same time.
When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds. Every week, you can add more squeezes, but be careful not to overdo it, and always have a rest between sets of squeezes
Always consult your Healthcare Professional before taking on any new exercises.
- Stop smoking
Smoking puts you at a risk of incontinence, because coughing puts pressure on your pelvic floor muscles.
Discuss with your Healthcare Professional on ways to quit smoking and support.
- Do the right exercises
High-impact exercises can put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can increase leaks. To strengthen your pelvic floor to relieve symptoms one should try strengthening exercises like pilates.
Pilates strengthens your core muscles, which is beneficial for stress incontinence.
- Avoid lifting
Lifting can put strain on pelvic floor muscles. Hence, one should avoid it whenever possible. When there is a need to lift something from the floor, one should tighten their pelvic floor muscles before and during the lift to ease pressure of the pelvic floor muscles.
- Lose excess weight
Excess weight can weaken pelvic floor muscles and can lead to incontinence because of the pressure of fatty tissue on your bladder. Loosing excess weight can help with improvement of your symptoms.
- Treat constipation promptly
Struggling to empty your bowels weakens your pelvic floor muscles and can lead to urinary incontinence. Change in diet and lifestyle will help you with constipation. Exercising and eating more fibre will help.
- Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine is a bladder irritant and can make symptoms of incontinence worse. Fizzy drinks, tea, green tea, energy drinks and hot chocolate also contain caffeine. Hence, restrict their intake and replace them with water and fruit / herbal teas.
- Cut down on alcohol
Cutting down on alcohol will help with incontinence symptoms as alcohol is a diuretic, which makes you urinate more often.
Please discuss with your Healthcare Professional on how to cut down on Alcohol.
- Drink plenty of water
Not drinking enough fluids can also cause constipation or make it worse. Many people with urinary incontinence avoid drinking fluids, as they feel it causes them to urinate frequently. However, limiting your fluid intake makes incontinence worse, as you bladder reduces its capacity.
Drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day (but no more) uncles your doctor advises you otherwise.
- Eat the right foods
Avoid spicy and acidic foods, such as curries and citrus fruits, as they can irritate the bladder and make leaks and other incontinence symptoms worse.
- NHS (2022) – Urinary Incontinence