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According to the Canadian Continence Foundation, around 10% of Canadians are living with incontinence – that’s around 3.5 million people. Several celebrities have even spoken out about their experience with the condition including Stephen King, Samuel L. Jackson, Katy Perry, Kate Winslet, and Helena Bonham Carter. So, if you’re living with incontinence, rest assured you’re in good company.
Despite all this, however, urinary incontinence can be very distressing for those experiencing it. The shame and stigma surrounding it can prevent people from seeking care and many go to great lengths to keep their condition a secret, meaning they miss out on living life to the fullest.
If this sounds like you or someone you care for, know that a lot of treatment and support options are available, so you don’t have to let incontinence hold you back.
The different types of incontinence
Incontinence is divided into various different types:
- Stress incontinence
When the urethra can’t handle the increased pressure during exercise, coughing, or sneezing, causing urine to leak out.
- Urge incontinence
When you get a sudden urge to pee and can’t hold on long enough to get to a toilet.
- Overflow incontinence
When you’re unable to fully empty your bladder, causing frequent leaks.
- Total incontinence
When your bladder can’t store any urine, causing you to pee constantly or have frequent leaking.
Tips to help you manage incontinence
See a doctor
First thing’s first, if you or someone you care for is experiencing incontinence, visit your doctor. They’ll be able to give you a proper diagnosis, which will inform the treatment recommended to you.
As a first step, your doctor might suggest some simple lifestyle changes that may help you manage leaks.
Having a body mass index above 30 may worsen incontinence. If this is you, consider working towards a healthier weight through a mixture diet and exercise. Not sure where to start? Check out our blogpost on simple ways to stay active throughout the year.
Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol
Drinks that contain caffeine, like tea, coffee, and energy drinks, and those that contain alcohol are diuretics, meaning they can make you need to pee more often. So, try reducing your intake of these and see if your symptoms improve.
Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are a way of strengthening the muscles that control your bladder. They can be especially effective for stress incontinence but may also help urge incontinence. You can find your pelvic floor by imagining you’re peeing and squeeze the muscles you’d use to stop the flow of urine. Pelvic floor exercises involve squeezing and releasing these muscles. Start with 10 to 15 repetitions a day and add in more squeezes each week – though be sure not to overdo it. If you’d like guidance on doing these properly, pelvic floor practitioners can often be found at health clinics such as RMT or chiropractor clinics.
Your doctor may also recommend bladder training. To do this, try holding on for 10 minutes every time you feel the urge to urinate. The goal is to increase the amount of time between trips to the toilet so that you’re only urinating every 2.5 – 3.5 hours. This may not be suitable for everyone, so always speak to your healthcare provider first.
To compliment other treatments and help you go about your life with confidence, there are a wide range of incontinence products available depending on your needs, such as:
- Pads and absorbent underwear
- Furniture protection
- Handheld urinals
- Shop the whole range of incontinence products on wellwise.ca.
At Wellwise by ShoppersTM in-store locations, our staff are here to support you and your loved ones with any products or guidance you may need, offering high-quality expertise and personal confidentiality to help you feel comfortable and confident. If you or your loved ones wish to shop online, wellwise.ca can be a great resource for you as well.
The information presented in this blog post is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this post as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for professional counseling care. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.