Are coughing, sneezing and laughing causing frequent changes of underpants and clothes? Are you declining invitations to movies, dinner, shopping, or exercise classes with friends out of fear you might have an accident? Don’t let stress incontinence limit your social life. You can stay active without the risk of embarrassing leaks. Stress incontinence is much more common in women than men since pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Men may experience stress incontinence after surgery for prostate problems. For all the ladies out there, try these simple protect and defend techniques designed to regain your confidence and keep you moving.
The simplest method of protection is to use an incontinence pad NOT a menstrual pad. Incontinence pads are designed specifically for leakage protection and odor control. Products that are best suited for stress incontinence should have at least an absorbency level of light to moderate. Today’s incontinence products are more discreet and comfortable. A few of the more popular and innovative pads according to AllegroMedical.com are the Poise, Prevail, and eco-friendly premium European Abri-San pads. If you prefer an item that more closely resembles protective underwear you might try the ultra-sleek and smooth fitting Depend Silhouettes or the eco-friendly premium Abri-Flex.
Training your pelvic floor muscles is a great defense to stress incontinence. You are never too old to perform these exercises. Kegel exercises will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.1 Just like any exercise regimen performing them regularly will give you optimum results. You can feel whether you are using the correct “squeeze” muscle by stopping your urine stream during a visit to the toilet. This is only a technique for you to identify the “correct” squeeze. Start with small, short squeezes to build up the strength of your muscles. Squeeze for 3 seconds and relax for 3 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times. Kegel exercises 5 minutes, three times a day should make it easier for your pelvic floor muscles to react to the increased abdominal pressures of sneezing and coughing.
You are not alone with 1 out of 3 women over the age of 45, and 1 out of every 2 women over 65 suffering from stress incontinence.2 You might consider joining a support group where you can voice concerns or listen to others share their stories. Organizations such as the National Association For Continence can provide you with resources and information about people who experience stress incontinence. Stop stressing about stress incontinence and start enjoying life!
1Kegel exercise tips. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/bcw_ez/bcw_508.pdf
2US markets for Urological Devices. Millennium. Oct 2010. Report US3IURI0