Catching a cold is no fun at the best of times, but when you’re living with light bladder leakage, constant coughing fits can be an absolute nightmare! You don’t need to suffer in silence, though: With some careful planning and preparation, living with light bladder leakage doesn’t need to be as frustrating as you think.
We don't feel embarrassed buying laxatives if we're a little blocked up, and we're not ashamed to discuss our latest migraine with friends.
Why, then, do we shy away from discussing light bladder leakage — especially when it's so common?
"All up, nearly 4.8 million Australians are living with incontinence, yet an estimated 70 per cent of people don't discuss the issue with anyone — not their partner, best friend or GP," says Angela Tufvesson, editor of Bridge magazine, produced quarterly by the Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA).
This means that for some — or, in fact, for a lot — of Australian women, living with light bladder leakage and more serious bladder weakness issues is just part of everyday life.
So what can we do to manage the symptoms and get on with our day, without panicking every time we sneeze or laugh?
Whether you're heading out for a big night on the town, a day at a music festival or just a quiet movie at the local cinema, the key to a stress-free outing lies in the planning. "Know how long you will be out and make sure you have enough products with you, including cleaning and odour-neutralising products," suggests the CFA. It's also a good idea to find out where the closest public toilets are if you're going somewhere new; see the National Public Toilet Map.
Always have a spare set of underwear (and, if necessary, spare pants or a skirt) handy to help you refresh in case of an accident. Simply stash them in a plastic bag in your car, in your bottom drawer at work and/or in your handbag.
Research shows certain high-impact exercises such as running, push-ups and sit-ups can actually put extra stress on your pelvic floor muscles and cause long-term bladder and bowel control problems. "Walking, swimming and seated exercises such as shoulder presses and bicep curls are better options," according to the CFA. You can learn more about safe pelvic floor exercises here.
Most women find that pelvic floor muscle training improves urinary incontinence, so try and get into the routine of doing 10 sets of kegel exercises, at least three times per day. "Linking the exercises to a regular activity such as meal times or brushing your teeth is a good way to incorporate pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine," suggests the CFA.
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