Taking care of your pelvic health is an often-forgotten, underrated tip for reducing bladder leaks. Read our tips below for some ideas on how you can make your bladder, and pelvic floor healthier.
Let us tell you a little secret about your pelvic floor…it’s an unsung hero! Issues with the pelvic floor are often dismissed as a “normal” part of having a baby, aging, or menopause, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your pelvic floor muscles do a ton – they support your organs, play a role in bladder and bowel continence, are a part of your core muscles, contribute to sexual pleasure, and even support your lymphatic system. They play a big role in our overall health and wellness!
But we’re here to tell you the secret to reducing your bladder leaks. Are you ready? Here it is…
Take care of your pelvic health daily.
Yes. That’s it! We’ll say it again. Take care of your pelvic health daily.
Your pelvic health is part of your overall health, and issues such as urinary incontinence are common, but not normal.
You wash your hands after using the bathroom. You eat fruits and vegetables to nourish your body. You go to the doctor when you’re sick. And after reading the steps to taking care of your pelvic health below, you can start improving your bladder leaks today.
3 Steps You Can Take To Manage Your Pelvic Health And Reduce Bladder Leaks
Step 1: Educate Yourself
How can you improve something without knowing exactly what it is? Or advocate for yourself without knowing what you need to advocate for? Take the time to educate yourself on the following items to reduce your bladder leaks:
- What kind of urinary incontinence are you experiencing?
The three most common types of urinary incontinence are stress, urge, and mixed. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) involves accidental urine leakage with activities that cause impact to your body such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, jumping, or even just getting up from a chair. Urge urinary incontinence (UUI) involves urine leakage associated with increased urgency (or the feeling of having to urinate), often on the way to the toilet. Mixed urinary incontinence (MUI) is a mix of both stress and urge urinary incontinence.
- What types of doctors treat urinary incontinence?
A specialist in bladder and pelvic floor health is ideal. A pelvic health physical therapist, urogynecologist, or urologist are all great options. Your primary care provider can also help refer you to the right specialist.
- Is surgery the best or only option?
In many cases, no. Conservative treatments can eliminate or significantly improve bladder leaks by addressing the root cause of the leaks, which in many cases is pelvic floor muscle weakness.
- What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a bowl-like network of muscles and tissue that runs from your pubic bone to the tailbone, creating a “sling” or “hammock” that supports our organs (bladder, bowel, and uterus). These muscles help with bladder control, bowel control, and sexual function.
- Will urinary incontinence go away on its own?
Usually, urinary incontinence will not go away on its own. This is because there is often a root cause of your bladder leaks that needs to be addressed. For example, did you know that 1 in 3 women report urinary incontinence within 3 months after childbirth? And 4 years later, 1 in 3 women still report urinary incontinence. And after age 65, 1 in 2 women report bladder leaks. So clearly urinary incontinence does not just go away…and often gets worse. Get ahead of it, seek treatment, and thank yourself later!
Step 2: Make Lifestyle Changes
The trick to long-term and sustainable change? Consistency with little changes you can make in your day-to-day life. Let’s break down exactly what those lifestyle changes may look like.
Dehydration leads to concentrated urine which irritates your bladder and causes more leakage! Concentrated urine will be darker yellow, amber, or cloudy in color compared to the clear to light yellow urine produced when you are well hydrated. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day to improve urine concentration and lead to a happy, healthy bladder. (Click here for some tips to help you drink more water throughout the day!)
- Sticking to an exercise routine
Motion is lotion! Figure out what type of exercise feels good and stick to a daily routine. Make sure you regularly include weightlifting to keep your muscles strong and bones healthy, which in turn supports your pelvic floor. For strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, check out Flyte. Flyte treats and tones your pelvic floor muscles in just 5 minutes a day to help you say bye-bye to bladder leaks.
- Reducing bladder irritants
For some, certain beverages can contribute to increased urine leakage by irritating the bladder lining. Common irritants include caffeine, citrus, carbonation, and alcohol. Are we saying ditch these altogether? No. But everything in moderation. You can start by chasing these irritants with some water to improve your bladder health.
- Practicing mindfulness
Did you know that increased stress in your life can contribute to holding increased tension in your muscles … including your pelvic floor muscles? Practice mindfulness by finding moments in your day to sit in stillness and focus on breathing into your belly, feeling the tension melt away in your body.
- Eating a fiber-rich diet
Fiber is hugely important for gut health and gut health plays a big role in how our bowels function! Constipation can lead to increased urinary incontinence. Be sure to address your constipation by drinking enough water, eating a fiber-rich diet, and keeping your body moving.
Step 3: Advocate for Yourself
As simple as “advocating for yourself” may seem, it is the most important advice we can give for taking care of your pelvic health.
Many women are taught to be ashamed of pelvic floor issues, including incontinence. Many are taught that it’s just a normal part of being a woman, having a baby, or getting older. Many are taught to keep quiet about conversation topics such as bathroom or bedroom habits.
But here’s the thing: we all have pelvic floors and urinary incontinence is extremely common. But it is NOT normal.
Urinary incontinence has been associated with problems later in life with functional daily activities such as balance and walking. And, it’s been associated with conditions such as chronic back pain, more frequent urinary tract infections, depression, and anxiety. It can be frustrating and negatively affect your quality of life, including your sexual wellness.
Be sure to advocate for yourself! If you feel unheard by a doctor, a friend, or a loved one, know that you are not alone. Seek out a specialist and someone you feel supported by to help navigate this journey.
We at Flyte offer a free Ask A (Pelvic) PT service for this very reason! Set up a call with a pelvic floor physical therapist today to get questions answered and receive support. No sales pressure, just answers.
And there you have it! The secret to reducing bladder leaks – taking care of yourself and your pelvic health daily.
About the author and Flyte:
Shravya Kovela, PT, DPT, OCS is a pelvic health physical therapist and business development manager at Flyte. Flyte is an FDA-cleared novel treatment that tones your pelvic floor muscles and improves bladder leaks in only 5 minutes a day for 6 weeks. Flyte teaches you how to properly do a Kegel and delivers mechanotherapy, gentle mechanical pulses that when paired with an active pelvic floor contraction stimulate the body’s natural healing response to amplify the benefits of a Kegel by 39x. It’s simple, effective, and clinically proven. Flyte will give you your life back – without limitations or bladder leaks. With a free Ask A (Pelvic) Physical Therapist Service and private Facebook group moderated by pelvic health experts, Flyte supports women throughout their journeys to better bladder and pelvic health. Learn more about Flyte at www.flytetherapy.com.