Getty ImagesBladder control is no laughing matter. Millions of women suffer from involuntary loss of urine…whether it is a few drops that no one else will notice…or a large amount that can become terribly embarrassing. Urinary incontinence can result from a variety of reasons…everything from pregnancy and childbirth to menopause to physical problems due to aging.
Believe it or not, there are natural ways of improving your bladder health, without medication. To help eliminate pesky bladder leaks, you here are five tips:
- Kegels: You probably could have guessed this one…but it is true. The very exercises you do to strengthen your "hoo-ha" can also strengthen your bladder. The good news is this: "Doing bladder control exercises for just 5 minutes, three times a day, can make a big difference in your bladder control." To effectively do kegels, you should imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas or stop the flow of urine in mid-stream. Squeeze the muscles you would use. If you sense a "pulling" feeling, those are the right muscles for pelvic exercises. The best part of these exercises is that you can do them without anyone seeing you! Pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of 3. Then relax for a count of 3. Work up to 10 to 15 repetitions each time you exercise. Further, you may want to try doing these exercises in three different positions: lying down, sitting and standing.
- Maintain a Normal Weight: It's true: Carrying excess weight increases the likelihood of weak pelvic floor muscles and can also worsen bladder weakness. If you are overweight, try losing some weight and see if that makes a difference. Although BMI isn't always the best indicator of health, it is a good reference point to know if you may need to lose weight.
- Skip the Heavy Lifting: If you are in need of a little heavy lifting, consider letting someone else do it. Lifting heavy objects incorrectly can weaken your pelvic floor. If you lift heavy objects yourself, make sure that you do so safely by bending your knees and using your leg muscles. Also, try to incorporate strength training into your workouts so that you are stronger for those times when you do need to do some lifting.
- Bladder Friendly Foods and Drinks: Certain foods, such as tomato based and spicy foods, can irritate the bladder. While beverages such as those that are caffeinated or alcoholic can act as diuretics, which may contribute to leakage. As a result, it is best to stick to bladder-friendly liquids such as water, apple juice, grape juice and cranberry juice.
- Put Safeguards into Place: Bladder weakness affects one out of four women. This means that you are not alone if you are suffering from this problem. Try to empty your bladder frequently to keep it from getting to full. Also, use some "back-up" during active days when you know it will be difficult to control your bladder or get to a bathroom regularly. Panty-liners or pads can help give you confidence throughout the day.
Do you suffer from bladder weakness? Has there been anything that you have done that has been especially helpful?
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