At Home Solutions

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Check with Your Doctor

It is encouraged that anyone whose quality of life is being affected by urinary incontinence (UI) seeks advice from their doctor.  Your doctor may have insight into ways to solve or cure your UI, but in the meantime, here are some tips to help manage it at home.  These simple lifestyle changes can help to alleviate the symptoms of UI.  Not all techniques work for every case, so try a few and mix and match to find the strategy that works best for you.


Tips and Tricks to Controlling your UI

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises – Doing kegel excercises (muscle contractions of the pelvic floor muscles that manage bladder control) has been shown to be effective at reducing and sometimes curing symptoms of UI, especially stress incontinence. 

Bladder Training – Sometimes you can train your bladder to "hold it" for longer periods of time by working your way from shorter to longer periods of time. Start by lengthening the time between trips by delaying your trip to the toilet just 5 minutes after you get the urge.  Increase the interval between bathroom breaks slowly until you are going only every 2-4 hours. Start by trying this at home. If you accidentally wait too long, you don’t want to have an accident in the office.

Double Voiding – This technique refers to using the toilet and then waiting a few minutes and then going again.  This can help empty your bladder more completely and is especially useful for overflow incontinence.  You may like to get in the habit of playing a game on your phone or updating your grocery list while you wait.

Schedule Toilet Trips – Scheduling toilet trips can help you empty your bladder before you get the urge.  

Diet Changes – There are a lot of diet changes that have been shown to improve UI.  Reducing liquids seems like an obvious one, but be careful not to reduce them so much that you get dehydrated.  Dehydration can cause urine to become more concentrated and irritate the bladder, which can increase your symptoms.  Experiment with different amounts to determine a balance that works best for you.

You should also be careful to avoid diuretics, which are any substances that increase the amount of water passed from the body.  These include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and many others.  Consult with your doctor if you are unsure whether anything in your diet could be worsening your UI.

Make sure to include fiber in your diet.  Fiber helps to prevent constipation, which can put pressure on your bladder and worsen incontinence.

Lose Weight – Excess weight can put pressure on your bladder, which can irritate symptoms of UI.  This does not apply to everyone though.   If you are already at a healthy weight, losing weight is unlikely to relieve your symptoms.  Before attempting to lose weight, talk to your doctor.  

Absorbent Pads, Liners and Other Protective Garments – There is a huge selection of pads, liners and other protective garments available these days, in stores and online.  It might take some research and some trial and error to find out which products work best for you, but these can make a big difference in the confidence with which you approach everyday life. They don’t solve the problem, but they reduce the effects.

For Nighttime UIbedpan used for night time incontinence – If you have problems with nighttime incontinence, you may be able to help by making some changes around your house.  If there is a rug or furniture on the path between your bed and the toilet, move it to reduce the risk of tripping.  Nighttime grogginess is enough to deal with on the way to the toilet, so give yourself a clear and easy path.

Is it dark?  Use a nightlight to help you find your way down the hallway without fumbling with a light switch.

Try looking into products designed specifically for nighttime UI.  With features like extra protection and absorption, nighttime UI products may work better than your usual products to keep you dry all night.

If you still can’t make it to the toilet in time, try keeping a bed pan in your room.   

Preventing Skin Irritation – Sometimes if your skin is wet for long periods of time because of UI, it can cause skin irritation.  To prevent this, make sure to keep your body clean and dry.  You may want to use a washcloth to clean yourself or use petroleum jelly or cocoa butter as a barrier to protect your skin.  Be careful not to wash too much though, as scrubbing or over-cleaning can weaken your body’s natural defenses and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
See our blog posts for more useful tips!