Urinary Incontinence – Avoid These Common Mistakes! | Physical Therapy for everyBODY
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Urinary Incontinence – Avoid These Common Mistakes!

Incontinence

Many women have been told that incontinence is “normal” after child birth or with aging. That is not true!

You can and should have normal pelvic floor control as you age.

Here are our top tips that you can implement right now. And, make sure you read the last one because most women are shocked when I say this.


1. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

It sounds like I am taking all the fun out of life, right? But, caffeine and alcohol have a negative affect on the bladder and pelvic floor. Both of these liquids can aggravate the bladder and cause increased difficulty holding your urine. Especially when you add forces such as laughing, coughing, or sneezing to the mix.

Many people ask me if they have to completely give up caffeine and alcohol if they are suffering with urinary incontinence. The truth is that the answer varies based on your body. There is not one rule that works best for every body.

What I recommend my patients start with is limiting caffeine to the morning time. This allows your system to process the caffeine through the day and decreases your urinary frequency at night. You may also need to limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee if you tend to drink more than that.

In regards to alcohol, if you are struggling with urinary incontinence try avoiding alcohol for one month. See what effect that has on your symptoms. Remember, every body is different and you need to find what your body feels successful with.


2. Drink Enough Water

This one may sound counter-intuitive but it’s incredibly important. Drinking enough water is critical to decreasing the concentration of urine in the bladder. When the urine concentration increases this can actually aggravate the lining of the bladder. Which can lead to urinary incontinence symptoms.

Now, how much water is “enough”? My favorite recommendation is this – drink enough water that your pee is clear and then drink enough water to keep your pee clear. This will vary based on your body and activity level.

If you really like to have a number to shoot for then start with 80 ounces per day. For my patients, I have them get a couple of water bottles that equal 80 ounces (or one big water bottle if that’s your jam). Fill up the water bottles in the morning and then place them around where you will see them. Try drinking water while you are driving if you have a long commute. Or chug some water during breaks in your day.

Find the routine that works for your schedule and implement it daily. It takes awhile to form a new habit but your perseverance will pay off.


3. Avoid Foods That Aggravate Your Bladder

There are many foods that can affect your bladder. They can irritate the bladder lining and cause increased contraction of the bladder. Which may lead to urinary incontinence. Try avoiding these foods for a month and see if your symptoms improve:

  • Acidic foods like oranges, pineapple, and lemon
  • Spicy food
  • Tomatoes products – fresh, canned, and jarred
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Carbonated drinks – soda and bubbly water
  • Corn syrup

4. Avoid Kegel Exercises

Yep, I said it. If you are doing Kegel exercises this can actually INCREASE your urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen your pelvic floor. Which for many people is actually the problem.

Your problem may be that your pelvic floor is not weak, it is actually too tight. When you try to strengthen a muscle that is tight it actually causes the muscle to become tighter. Which leads to increased difficulty holding your urine when you have a higher level activity like coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

When you have an already tight pelvic floor and you then strengthen the pelvic floor it causes the pelvic floor to become tighter. You then ask the pelvic floor to tighten again to hold in the urine while you laugh, cough, or sneeze and the pelvic floor taps out. It doesn’t have any more length to shorten and hold the urine in.

Which causes the urinary incontinence that so many women believe is normal after childbirth or with aging. Instead you want to perform exercises that allow the pelvic floor to fully contract AND relax. This allows for the pelvic floor muscles to have a normal resting tone and be ready for those higher level activities.

If you are struggling with urinary incontinence, I recommend you try this exercise instead. Do this exercise twice a day for 30 days and you might see your symptoms completely relieved. If this exercise alone does not eliminate your urinary incontinence then you would benefit from specific help from a Specialist who is able to determine the root cause of your urinary incontinence.

If you are ready to find the root cause of your urinary incontinence then I recommend that you try one of our Free Discovery Visits where we will discuss your specific symptoms and what you have tried already. From there, our Specialist will help you determine the next best step on your healing journey.

You don’t have to suffer with urinary incontinence just because you had a child or are aging. Urinary incontinence can be healed completely naturally without surgery once you get to the root cause. The best time to start that journey is today. Once your symptoms progress you may start to have other systems that get involved which makes treatment more difficult...and tends to take longer.

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Struggling with pain and dysfunction can impact every part of our lives — it drains our energy, distracts us from our goals, and keeps us from the people and activities we love. As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Dr. Amy Konvalin understands how frustrating those limitations can be — and she knows how to help get you back to the life you want to live! Beginning with a focused evaluation, Dr. Amy works to determine the root causes of your pain, as well as understanding how it affects the way you move through your world. Dysfunctional patterns of movement often grow worse with time and cause further damage if left untreated — so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Dr. Amy knows there is no one-size-fits-all plan for success, and she partners with patients to identify their unique treatment goals and personal values. Using these goals as a guide, Amy uses her doctorate training in manual (hands-on) therapy and exercise prescription to treat patients with a wide variety of medical challenges and histories throughout the Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Covington areas. Dr. Amy is also a wife to a Boeing superstar/former C-130 navigator. While they lived in Germany, Dr. Amy was able to volunteer with the US Army to treat military personnel and civilians on base. She has two beautiful teenage ballerinas who keep her on her toes and educate her on all things ballet! Bailey, the princess pup, is her running partner and her napping partner. In the spare moments in between, Amy enjoys reading, yoga, wine with friends, Pilates, and walking on the beach.
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