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Many Americans suffer from urinary incontinence, or difficulty controlling urine leakage at inappropriate times. However, if you suffer from this frustrating, embarrassing problem, you may find that you can improve your bladder control by trying any or all of these four unusual but sensible tactics.
1. Drink More Water, Not Less
If you have trouble controlling your urinary habits, you might assume that you should drink less water, despite the necessity of proper hydration. In reality, drinking more water instead of less can actually ease your incontinence issues. The extra fluid expands the bladder's capacity, essentially training it to hold more liquid.
You may find that water provides more benefits in this regard than other beverages. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, since these substances have a diuretic effect that will only make you urinate more frequently.
2. Exercise Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Weak muscles in your pelvic floor can make bladder control more difficult and unpredictable. You can locate these muscles by simulating a bathroom effort and feeling the response. You can then perform Kegel exercises that strengthen these muscles. Clench and release your pelvic floor muscles to build up their strength and control.
Don't continue with your Kegel exercises if they cause you pain. Instead, check with your doctor to see whether you need to change the way you perform the exercises or switch to some other remedy entirely.
3. Kick Your Smoking Habit
You might not realize that your smoking habit might contribute to your urinary incontinence. The ingredients in tobacco can irritate the bladder, increasing a sense of urinary urgency. Habitual smokers can also develop a violent, hacking cough, which strains and weakens the pelvic muscles that control the bladder.
Tobacco's addictive nature makes smoking cessation understandably challenging. Even so, you'll do your overall health an enormous favor by quitting even as you remove one possible factor in your urinary incontinence.
4. Don't Let Constipation Affect Your Bladder
Irregular bowel habits and irregular urinary habits have more in common than you might think, even when they stem from different underlying causes. If you suffer from constipation, you probably find yourself straining to pass large, hard stools. Over time, the colon itself may enlarge and push against your bladder, resulting in incontinence.
One obvious solution to this problem involves asking your doctor to help you resolve your constipation issues. At the same time, you may want to place your feet on a footstool when you pass a bowel movement. Even this slight leg elevation can permit more relaxed bowel movements, with less stress on the rectal and bladder muscles.
Urinary incontinence can have many causes, but it can also have many solutions. Talk to your primary care physician or urologist about these and other smart management strategies.