(BPT) - Whether you’re exercising, sneezing, laughing or simply going about your day, a leaky bladder can stop you in your tracks. Whether mild or severe, the physical and emotional burden of unexpected leaks can cause some women to feel embarrassed. This can lead to disruptive "hacks" to manage their condition — such as wearing only black pants, avoiding liquid intake, or skipping enjoyable activities with family and friends.
“We all know the feeling of surprise when a cough triggers a bladder leak or panic when you've waited too long to find a bathroom,” says Younger actress Debi Mazar. “Incontinence is much more common than you think, and it can be managed without compromising your life or confidence.”
As experts in health and wellness, Walgreens offers the following tips to manage the issue healthily, and encourages women to abandon the silly management hacks for good.
1. Track your triggers
Every person is different, and it’s important to discover what factors may encourage your bladder leaks. For some, certain spicy or acidic foods, alcohol, and carbonated or caffeinated beverages may be the culprit. Other factors like smoking, chronic coughing and body weight can also contribute. Consider keeping a food and behavior journal to figure out what could be setting off leaks.
2. Choose products wisely
It's important that products work for your individual situation — function and comfort are key. Look for products that guarantee security, like Walgreens Certainty™ incontinence products. From liners and pads to protective underwear and briefs, a dry-lock core helps lock in moisture to keep you feeling dry and comfortable.
“As health and wellness experts, we know that not everyone is visiting the incontinence aisle with the same needs or at the same stage in life,” says Rina Shah, group vice president of Walgreens pharmacy operations & services. “Walgreens Certainty™ brand has the widest range of product offerings so customers don't need to feel like their incontinence is being treated as 'one size fits all.'”
3. Find your strength
Exercise can be a helpful way to reduce bladder leaks by strengthening the muscles of your pelvic floor. Try a low impact workout like yoga, Pilates, tai chi, walking or Kegel exercises.
4. Drink fluids
While you may be tempted to limit your water intake to avoid leaks, it can actually encourage leakage if you aren't drinking enough. For a healthy bladder, you need at least 48 ounces of water each day, depending on your body type and activity level, according to the National Association for Continence. Drink continuously throughout the day to avoid over-filling your bladder at once, which is when accidents are more likely to happen. If leaks are more prevalent overnight, cut back on liquids in the evening before bed.
5. Create a schedule
Consider timing out your urges to use the bathroom and create a routine. Try setting timers on your phone as reminders. If you feel the urge every two hours, go to the bathroom every 90 minutes. Eventually, you may be able to train your bladder to go longer in between bathroom breaks.
6. Talk to an expert
If you’re struggling with a leaky bladder, your doctor or pharmacist can help. Incontinence is extremely common, and trained professionals can share advice on the right medications, products and procedures for your individual condition. Come prepared with a list of how frequently you experience leaks, the severity, and what triggers may be the cause. This will help an expert give specific advice for your unique situation.
Don't spend another minute avoiding your favorite activities. Follow these bladder-health tips to safely manage incontinence and get back to living life with confidence.