How to Control Urinary Leakage
Involuntary urinary leakage, medically known by the term urinary incontinence, is a problem that affects many people, the majority of whom are women. Advanced age, pregnancy, menopause, obesity, cystitis, nervous system disorders... these are just some of the conditions that can trigger unwanted urine leakage. Identifying the source of the problem is key to take measures to help prevent this urinary incontinence, relax the bladder and enjoy greater comfort. Keep reading this article from OneHowTo learn how to control urinary leakages efficiently.
Causes of urinary leakage
The causes of urinary incontinence vary. However, the most common cause is the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, which are key to maintaining the proper position of the bladder, uterus and rectum. Loss of strength in the pelvic floor is a problem that most often affects elderly people, pregnant women and women who are menopausal.
Other conditions that may lead to urinary incontinence are:
- Urinary tract infections
- Calculi or stones in the bladder
- Urogenital fistula
- Brain damage or neuromuscular problems
- Side effects from certain medications
Go to the doctor to know what the cause of the problem is and to initiate the necessary treatment. The specialist may prescribe medication to relax the bladder and improve its functions, depending on the type of urinary incontinence. When incontinence is very serious, surgery is an option.
Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
One of the first recommended treatments for controlling involuntary urine loss is Kegel exercises. These strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and prevent accidental urine leakage which arises when these muscles are weakened or when they lose flexibility. Such exercises are perfect to prevent what is called stress incontinence, which refers to urine loss from simple, everyday actions, e.g. laughing, coughing, sneezing, running, exercising, weight lifting, etc.
Follow the instructions of a professional and carry out these Kegel exercises properly for best results. Take the following into account:
- You can perform them in different positions, but the best is to lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of the feet flat on the floor.
- Relaxing completely, you should try to contract the anal sphincter, i.e. the muscular ring around the anus, as if you were trying to hold in some wind. Avoid tensing the glute muscles themselves.
- Contract and relax the anal sphincter several times, until you feel you master the movement. It is important that you do not contract any other muscles of the body, such as the abdomen or legs.
- Hold the contraction for 3 to 5 seconds and relax for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat up to 10 or 15 times.
Experts recommend doing Kegel exercises 3 times a day to prevent the problem of urinary incontinence from deteriorating. You should combine them with hypopressive abdominal exercises , which allow you to have control of the abdominal muscles and strengthen them with specific contractions and a few deep breaths. Discover all the details and how to perform them in our article on how to do hypropressive exercises.
The above exercises will help greatly control urine leakage and avoid weakness of the pelvic floor, but it is also important that these are complemented by other measures, as explained below. One of the most important factors is to train the bladder to urinate at specific times. For example, initially it may be more difficult to endure, so you can start with short intervals and go to the bathroom to urinate every hour. As time passes and the situation improves, you can gradually increase this by 30 minutes, but always in a gradual and progressive manner.
Likewise, it is also recommended that you get used to urinate before leaving the house, before going to bed or before physical activity. This will reduce the likelihood of urine leakage in uncomfortable situations. On the other hand, experts advise against holding the urge to urinate in for too long. This is because the bladder may start to relax after so much time, leading to loss of elasticity.
If you think you have a bladder infection, you might like to try some of our home remedies.
Diet and fluid intake
It is always advisable to follow a balanced and healthy diet to maintain a healthy body. However, it is even more important if you have an incontinence problem. First, if overweight, you should start a low-calorie diet to shed any excess weight that puts even more pressure on the abdominal and pelvic muscles and worsens urine leakage.
Moreover, you should moderate your diet and avoid foods that can irritate the urinary tract and increase the desire to urinate. Some examples are spicy ingredients (chilli, ginger, pepper, cayenne, etc.), plus diuretic foods, which favour the production of urine and stimulate kidney function.
With regard to liquids, drink 2 litres of water a day or whenever you are thirsty and try to moderate your intake from mid-afternoon to prevent urine leakage at night. Do not think that drinking less water will improve the situation. If water intake is very small, the urine becomes more concentrated. This irritates the bladder and increases the urge to go to the bathroom to urinate. In contrast, avoid drinking fluids that can aggravate incontinence, e.g. carbonated drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
Hygiene and products to protect against urine leakage
Intimate hygiene is fundamental when you have urine leakage, as it is the only way to avoid unpleasant odours that can arise from leakages. It is best to wash the genital area with warm water and soap specifically designed for that area, about twice a day or when needed.
Apart from this, there are some products you may find very useful to protect yourself from urine leakage and to feel clean and fresh throughout the day, including:
- Sanitary towels: on the market, there are some that are specially designed for women with urinary incontinence, which are much more absorbent than traditional pads as they can retain urine inside.
- Pessaries: devices that are available in different shapes and sizes and inserted into the vagina in order to put pressure on the urethra and prevent urine leakage.
- Urethral plug: this is a type of plastic balloon that is inserted into the urethra and blocks the passage of urine. They are usually used for certain times of day.
- Urinary collector: specific latex cases for males, which are placed over the penis and connected to a type of bag in which the leaked urine is stored.
Before you start using any of these products, it is advisable to consult your doctor on the most appropriate solution for your particular case.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Control Urinary Leakage, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.