– Incontinence is a sometimes embarrassing problem that has a number of possible causes. Urinary incontinence can be a temporary problem related to medications, alcohol or a urinary tract infection. In other cases, bladder control problems may be an everyday occurrence. In women, age, pregnancy and hormonal changes after menopause increase the risk for bladder control problems. These factors cause muscles in the floor of the pelvis that support the bladder to weaken. Without adequate support, bladder control problems become more likely. In men, aging or an enlarged prostate may contribute to incontinence.
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If you have bladder control issues, it's important to find out why. Your doctor can examine you and carry out the appropriate tests to see why you're having bladder issues. The good news? After you know what's causing it, here are a number of incontinence aids that can help.
Incontinence comes in a variety of forms. Some people, most commonly women, experience leakage of a small amount of urine when they cough, sneeze or laugh. This is called stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is most common in women who have given birth or gone through menopause. Research shows exercises that strengthen the floor of the pelvis called Kegel exercises improve the symptoms of stress incontinence. You can do these exercises at home using a barbell shaped object called a Kegel exercise. This device makes it easier to work the pelvic floor muscles against resistance to tone and strengthen them. You can use it daily to exercise the muscles that support your bladder
Natural Approaches for Bladder Control
There's some thought that butterbur, an herb native to Europe, may reduce bladder irritability and spasms. In fact, it's used in Germany as a natural remedy for irritable bladder. As a result, you can find formulations that combine butterbur with other herbs and fruit extracts, including cranberry extract, a fruit that helps maintain a healthy bladder. These ingredients work together and may help minimize bladder spasticity and irritability, although more research is needed. In addition, there are homeopathic formulations that are believed by some to target the problem of bladder incontinence using herb and botanical ingredients although it is not yet clear if they are effective for this use.
Other Approaches to Dealing with Bladder Incontinence
Protective underwear and briefs help prevent leakage and guard against embarrassment. Also helpful are carry-along personal urinal bags so you can quickly relieve yourself when "nature calls." These carry-on bags are ideal for travel and any time you don't have quick access to a restroom. Plus, they're small enough to fit into a purse or travel bag so you can carry one anywhere. With this take-along protection, you don't have to worry about spills or embarrassing odor. Keep some in your car. You never know when traffic will keep you from reaching a bathroom in time!
Don't forget about bedding protection at home and when you travel. There are a number of alternatives available including reusable underpads, waterproof sheets and waterproof mattress covers that offer wetness protection to keep you dry and comfortable. This type of protection works well for kids that are potty training as well.
As you can see, there are a number of bladder control aids to help you stay dry and comfortable. Ask your doctor which are most appropriate for you.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
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