The concept of “self care” has surged in popularity in recent years, and self care doesn’t have to stop because of your incontinence. Incontinence self-care allows a majority of adults to discreetly manage their incontinence without it having to take away from their quality of life. The following are five ways you can practice incontinence self care.
1. Save Money on Incontinence Supplies
Saving money can definitely be a form of self-care!
You’ve probably noticed that purchasing catheters, protective underwear, or bladder control pads can quickly become expensive. It can also be embarrassing for some individuals to purchase bladder control supplies at their local pharmacy, for fear of being seen by a friend.
However, with Aeroflow Urology, you won’t need to take another trip to the store to get your bladder control supplies.
With Aeroflow Urology, your bladder control products may be covered, at no cost to you, through your insurance provider. All you have to do is fill out our quick and easy 2-step form, and we will take care of the rest.
We’ll contact your insurance provider and your healthcare provider to take care of any necessary paperwork. We understand that less time spent at the store means you’ll have more time to focus on what’s important (like your incontinence self-care).
2. Create a Treatment Plan with Your Doctor
One of the largest aspects of incontinence care is creating an effective treatment plan that fits your unique needs.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose your specific type of incontinence, as well as prescribe any necessary medications or treatment options. Each type of incontinence will require a different treatment plan, so it is important to avoid simply self-diagnosing yourself.
It is also important to remember that incontinence symptoms can be the result of a more serious diagnosis, so a visit to your healthcare provider is recommended.
3. Use Your Bladder Diary
Keeping a Bladder Diary is a simple, yet effective, way to practice your incontinence self-care each day.
A Bladder Diary allows you to track your bladder control symptoms for both yourself and your healthcare provider, while also tracking progress if you are working on treatment options such as bladder training, diet changes, or various bladder medications.
For each page of the Bladder Diary, simply take note of the amount of liquid you drink and the type of fluid you drink, how many times you use the restroom per day and night (including any accidents), as well as any notes you may want to keep track of for future reference for yourself or your healthcare provider.
A few things to keep in mind are if certain foods or drinks trigger an accident, if certain activities may weaken your bladder, or how many bladder control products you use each day. We offer a great printable resource that you can use each day here.
The diary can allow you to draw connections between triggers and symptoms, so you can make any necessary lifestyle changes that will lessen your incontinence symptoms. For example, if you find a correlation between drinking your morning coffee and increased bladder leakage, you can make small adjustments such as not drinking coffee before important life events or switching to tea in the morning.
Additionally, bladder irritants such as spicy foods and alcohol are common dietary triggers of bladder leakage, so if you find that they affect you, you can easily track these incidents in your Bladder Diary and make any necessary adjustments.
4. Bladder Muscle Training
With the help of your Bladder Diary, you can also identify your bladder’s normal routine and use this information to your advantage.
Instead of waiting for the urge to use the restroom to occur, you can try to use the restroom based on your schedule. You can also practice delaying urination once the urge strikes to retrain your bladder to feel urges on a “typical” schedule. Urinating every 2-3 hours is considered typical.
You can start to train your bladder in small increments by trying to hold off for 10 minutes when you feel the need to go, and then gradually expand the amount of time between bathroom breaks. Remember, your bladder is like any other muscle in your body, it can take some time to strengthen and grow stronger.
It can also be beneficial to try double voiding when you use the restroom. Double voiding is a technique used to fully empty your bladder if you are experiencing an urge to urinate shortly after attempting to fully empty your bladder, or if you experience the feeling of not being able to fully empty your bladder on your first try.
To practice double voiding, use the restroom, wait a few minutes, and try to go again. This can allow you to fully empty your bladder, decreasing overall bladder irritation.
5. Exercise Your Pelvic Floor
It is true that implementing healthy lifestyle changes can reduce pressure on the bladder, but there are also specific exercises and stretches that you can do to target the muscles that control urination. Your pelvic floor muscles control many bodily functions, but the function that is most important to your incontinence self-care is urination. Pelvic floor muscle exercises have proven to be extremely helpful for self-care, for both women and men.
There are many different pelvic floor exercises that beginners can easily incorporate into their daily routines. You can even do Kegels sitting in a chair or lying in bed! We recommend starting with 3 sets of 10 reps, and building up your reps from there as you become more confident in your pelvic floor strength.
Overall, any amount of pelvic floor exercises that you can do per day is great for your pelvic floor. However, it is important to listen to your body and take a break if you’re experiencing muscle fatigue or soreness. Pelvic floor pain can also feel like a heaviness or discomfort in the pelvis, so we recommend taking your training slow in the beginning.
It is also important to note that you can stretch your pelvic floor muscles, as well. If you’re experiencing symptoms of urge incontinence, you may have a pelvic floor that is too tight. If you’re experiencing stress incontinence symptoms, your pelvic floor is likely on the weaker side. If your healthcare provider has diagnosed your type of incontinence, you are better equipped to choose which type of pelvic floor exercises you implement into your daily routine.
Overall, any steps you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve your incontinence self-care is time well spent. Remember, bladder control issues do not have to decrease your quality of life. With trusted incontinence products through Aeroflow Urology, you can live confidently, knowing that you’re dry and protected.
Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care from a healthcare professional. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.