Gaining Control Over Incontinence

Gaining control over a bladder function that you thought was out of control can feel great. Achieving the control may take some understanding, some strategy on your part and also some determination. Gaining control over your incontinence can be done.

The first step is to understand what issues you do have control over and what things you do not have control over. Then you decide what behaviors to change and how. Then you make the changes and record your results in your “control journal”.

The best way to gain control over any situation is to understand it. In order to understand it you have to identify it. A journal is your best tool to identifying behavior. Grab a notebook or journal that you can make into your “control journal” and then starts jotting down everything you take in that is a fluid (include soups and Jello) and also record every time you urinate. Keep this journal for 3 to 5 days.

Take the journal in to your medical appointment to discuss with your doctor your current fluid intake and your current urination pattern. There should be a behavior pattern. Your doctor should be able to help you to decide what if any fluids you should eliminate or replace with others. Caffeinated for instance should be replaced by decaffeinated or water. Alcohol and carbonated drinks should be eliminated. Your doctor can advise you on any foods that you should watch for like acidic or spicy foods.

After you have adjusted your fluid intake and eliminated any irritating foods it is time to train your bladder.

Bladder training is all about letting your body know what are acceptable intervals of urination and what “full” truly feels like. Bladder training is about understanding your current bladder-emptying schedule. You do this by again, recording in your journal exactly when you go to the bathroom over a 3-day period. Work out a schedule with your doctor of a set time to go to the bathroom for that first week of training. It may be 1-hour intervals. Then the next week increase it to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The following week would be 1 hour and 30 minutes. The following week would be 1 hour and 45 minutes and so on and so on, until you reach somewhere between 3 and 4 hour intervals.

Another way to gain control is by strengthening your pelvic floor.

Your pelvic floor is the muscles and sphincter that control your urination. Kegel exercises are the exercises that pregnant women use in preparation for childbirth. These pelvic floor muscles are the ones that you can use to open and close the urethra. They also support the bladder when you do things like exert yourself doing every day activities like walking, laughing, sneezing, lifting or even standing.

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Procedure for Kegel Exercises:

Pretend you are trying to stop urine from coming out – squeeze the muscles = you know the ones you feel when you try to hold the urine in. Your doctor will tell you how many of these to do in a set and how many sets to do each day. Kegal exercises are especially helpful to those suffering from stress incontinence.