Beliefnet
How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it.
-G. Elliston


From "Parade Magazine," by Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld:

Gotta Go! Is your bladder out of control?

Nearly 14 million Americans-more women than men and usually but not always elderly-suffer from urinary incontinence. The most common symptoms are:

  • Urinary frequency, usually during both day and night.
  • Urgency-the sudden, intense need to void.
  • The inability to "hold it" long enough to get to a toilet.
  • Chronic incontinence impairs the quality of life, often causes depression, interferes with normal sleep and is frequently why older women are admitted to nursing homes.

    Yet, despite all its attendant problems, at least a third of incontinent individuals don't tell their doctors about it. You may be able to deal with your symptoms by making various changes in your lifestyle. If that doesn't work, medical procedures often do.

    To Help Yourself...

  • Exercise to strengthen the pelvic muscles that support the bladder. Especially useful are Kegel exercises, in which the pelvic muscles are repeatedly tightened and relaxed.
  • Consume as little caffeine as possible. It’s a diuretic.
  • Avoid a full bladder. Urinate whenever it’s convenient, even when the urge is not very great.
  • Wear clothes and trousers that you can open or remove quickly.
  • Reduce your intake of irritating foods, such as alcohol, fruit juices, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, dairy products, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
  • Don’t wear tight girdles or high heels. They can weaken pelvic muscles that control urination.
  • Don’t smoke. Women who do are twice as likely to become incontinent.
  • Take advantage of adult “diapers” to deal with any accidents.

    You may be able to deal with your symptoms by making various changes in your lifestyle. If that doesn't work, medical procedures often do. Be sure to see your doctor.
  • Join the Discussion
    comments powered by Disqus