Women’s Incontinence Guide
What is bladder leakage?
Bladder leakage, also known as urinary incontinence, is a problem of the urinary system. Urine is stored in the bladder until it sends a signal to the brain that it needs to be emptied. When any part of the urinary system malfunctions or is interrupted, bladder leakage can result.
What causes bladder leakage?
Bladder leakage is a symptom, not a disease, and may be caused by a number of factors. Physical conditions such as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause can contribute to bladder leakage in women.
Age, diet, excess weight and medications prescribed for conditions unrelated to your urinary systems may also cause changes in your bladder control.
It’s important to see your doctor if you experience any changes in your urinary habits.
You’re not alone
Almost half of British women over the age of 18 – that’s 10 million women – experience some of bladder leakage. Among those between the ages of 45 and 60, 47% of women experience incontinence with one in five women having symptoms every day. Incontinence is not just something that an older generation lives with. Urine leakage creates problems and concerns for women of all ages. Incontinence problems range from minor inconveniences to life-limiting behaviours. The majority of women begin to experience incontinence in their forties, around the time they go through menopause, after childbirth, or times when they may gain weight. Lorraine, who uses Depend Active-Fit underwear, explains: “I first started experiencing it after the birth of my daughter when I was working as a Diet & Fitness Instructor teaching 10 high impact classes a week.”
Managing the Condition
How to promote bladder and urinary health
Keep an eye on your diet
Since obesity is a high risk factor for men developing urine leakage, losing weight can prevent the onset or help relieve symptoms of stress and mixed incontinence.
It is also important to avoid or minimise foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder. These include spicy and acidic foods (like tomatoes and citrus), dairy, alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, fruit juice, and coffee (including decaf).
Monitor what you drink
When you have bladder leakage you may be inclined to decrease your fluid intake. However, to keep your bladder healthy, you should stay hydrated by drinking approximately six to seven 8-oz glasses of water a day, depending on your body size.
Exercising is important in many ways including to strengthen internal abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor health is essential to prevent and reduce both urine and bowel leakage. You can do this with Kegels, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi.
Exercising and walking combined with a healthy diet will help reduce weight and other urine leakage risk factors like diabetes.
Getting a good night’s sleep
Follow these simple steps to prevent night-time accidents:
- Limit your fluids before bedtime
- Avoid bladder irritating foods like caffeine, alcohol, acidic foods, chocolate, hot spices, soda
- Try and urinate 2x before bed
- Keep the path to the bathroom clear and well lit
- Do some Kegel exercises
- Use a product specially designed for your protection need
Staying in control
Here are some simple things you can do to make sure you’re always prepared when you’re out and about:
- Carry a spare Depend® product in your bag or briefcase
- Keep plastic bags on hand for easy disposal
- Have a couple “emergency” changes in your car
- Set a schedule for regular changes
- Locate restrooms ahead of time
- Avoid caffeine or too much water
- Find the right Depend® product