The joys of being a woman are vast and varied.
But as we get older, things start to change.
And if we’re not careful, those changes can wreak havoc on our lives.
Changes such as incontinence which if not addressed can cause a lot of quality of life problems for many women.
Luckily exercising does more good for your body than just keeping you in shape.
It can help with bladder issues, too.
So let’s learn about female incontinence and what exercises we can do to combat our female incontinence.
So empty that bladder, grab a set and let’s get started.
What Causes Female Incontinence?
There are a lot of reasons that can cause female incontinence.
Here are just a few reasons anyone (male or female) might experience incontinence:
- Alcohol: It’s a diuretic so limit your alcoholic intake if you’re struggling with female incontinence.
- Caffeine: Tea, coffee, hot chocolate all have caffeine in them. Check your sports drinks to see what they contain before drinking them as some may have hidden caffeine in them.
- Large doses of vitamins B, C, and Magnesium: For various reasons, each of these vitamins can cause you to urinate more frequently. Consult your doctor if you’re taking any of them before you make changes.
- Carbonated Drinks
- Prescription Medications: Painkillers, blood pressure pills, hormones, etc. There are a bunch of prescription medications that have the side-effect of frequent urination.
- Aging: As you age, your muscles get weaker. That’s why exercise is so important.
- Neurological Disorders: When bladder nerves haven been damaged due to a variety of factors from spinal chord injury to syphilis.
- Being Overweight
- Cigarette Smoking
But of course, being a woman means there are other ways to experience female incontinence:
- UTI: Urinary Tract Infections can irritate your bladder making you feel as though you have to urinate frequently. This can be treated with prescription drugs.
- Pregnancy: Hormones and increased weight of the uterus can cause female incontinence.
- Hysterectomy: The surgery may damage the pelvic floor muscles, leading to incontinence.
- Childbirth: A vaginal childbirth can weaken muscles and damage bladder nerves.
- Menopause: After menopause women produce less estrogen which helps protect the bladder lining and urethra.
What Kinds of Incontinence Are There?
Unfortunately, there is more than one way to become incontinent.
Here are the four types of incontinence:
Stress: Usually hits young and middle-aged women. Most often caused by coughing, sneezing, exercising and laughing.
Urge: Tends to occur in people suffering from neurological diseases like MS or Alzheimers. It’s a sudden urge to pee when you can’t get to the toilet.
Overflow: When a bladder leaks out a little bit at a time. Tends to hit men more than women and is often due to an enlarged prostate.
Functional: This affects the elderly or infirm. People who have issues getting to the toilet in time due to struggles with their physical health that makes it hard to rush to the toilet when they need to.
Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? So let’s move on to what we can do to prevent female incontinence.
What Are Tips to Avoid Incontinence?
If you’re struggling with female incontinence, you’re probably worried about what will happen if you have an accident while exercising.
After all, exercising usually involves jumping around and that tends to activate your bladder.
So before you hang up your sneakers, here are some tips you can use to avoid embarrassing yourself or having an accident:
- Wear Black Clothing: Make sure they’re loose fitting. This way you can wear a bladder pad if you need to and no one will know. If you do have an accident, the black colors will help hide it until you can change your clothing.
- Bring a Back-Up Wardrobe: Why not plan ahead and just have an extra pair of undies and pants just in case.
- Don’t Overhydrate: Make sure you’re hydrated but don’t load up on them unless you’re looking to have an accident.
- Avoid Spicy Foods: Instead eat veggies and other mild, high-fiber foods.
- Avoid Citrus Beverages & Caffeine: Stick to water during your workouts, the caffeine in citrus, tea, coffee, and soda will activate your bladder.
- Try Using a Tampon: It might put pressure on the urethra, which can lessen the urge to urinate.
- Go Before You Head Out: What’s the first thing your mom used to ask you before heading out on a trip? Did you use the bathroom first? Go to the bathroom before exercising and you’ll have less to worry about.
What Types of Exercises Will Work Best?
Every smart woman knows that she must incorporate exercise into her schedule.
And there are so many health advantages to exercising regularly.
But did you know there are specific exercises that can help with female incontinence?
Here are some exercises to try:
Kegels: These exercises can help strengthen your bladder muscles and improve bladder control. To do these exercises simply squeeze the muscles of your pelvic floor. Or squeeze the same muscles you’d use if you’re trying to stop urinating mid-stream.
Hold those muscles for 3 seconds. Do it 10 times. Build up so you are doing three sets of 10 repetitions each day.
Biofeedback: Working with your doctor in their office, this technique uses computer graphs and audio cues to determine which muscles you’re using. Your doctor can then help you to start exercising the right muscles to help with your female incontinence.
Electrical Stimulation: A wire or an electrode is used to deliver an electrical impulse to the bladder muscles to help train and strengthen them. The wire or electrode is temporary.
Vaginal Cones: Using vaginal cones as a weight training tool, they help to strengthen your muscles. Place the cone inside your vagina and use your pelvic floor muscles to lift up the cone. Train your muscles to lift up heavier cones as you strengthen your bladder muscles.
Bladder Training: This can help lengthen the time between visits to the bathroom. Train your bladder by planning trips to the bathroom every 2-4 hours. This will help prevent leakage and that dreaded urge to go.
Basic Self-Care: Getting regular exercise, eating healthy, watching your weight, not smoking and limiting your alcoholic intake are all helpful in making sure both your body and your bladder are as healthy as they can be.
Struggling with a bladder control issue doesn’t have to ruin your life. Get the facts and then take action.
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