If you’re prone to incontinence, it can be easy to assume that you’re only choice for treatment is medication or surgery. But the fact is that there are a lot of things you can do that not only can help ease your symptoms, but may even be able to stop some of them all together.
One of these things happens to do directly with the problem you’re actually having: using the toilet. Practicing good toilet habits can help to make sure you aren’t creating greater damage to your body, or conditioning yourself to things that may be contributing to your incontinence.
Read through the tips below to learn how you should properly use the toilet, and start practicing good toilet habits to help you prevent common incontinence symptoms.
GOOD TOILETING HABITS TO HELP PREVENT OR TREAT INCONTINENCE
ONLY GO TO THE TOILET WHEN YOUR BLADDER IS FULL.
Many people fall into the trap of “going just in case”, even when they don’t have a full bladder. This can become problematic, since you’re essentially training your bladder to go when it may not have to. Only go when you’re full.
PRACTICE BLADDER RETRAINING.
On the flip side, if you find yourself already in the position of needing to go to the bathroom often, with little urine coming out each time, you may want to try bladder retraining. This is where you hold your urge to urinate for a little bit, progressing to longer stretches over time until you’re eventually able to go for longer stretches without having to use the toilet. Learn more about bladder retraining here.
ALLOW YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME.
Ensuring you’re taking enough time to use the toilet, whether its urinating, or passing a bowel movement. Straining to go faster in either case can put a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor, and over time, this can lead to weakened muscles, and incontinence.
DON’T LET YOURSELF GET CONSTIPATED.
Drink plenty of water, eat fiber rich foods, and go to the bathroom when you feel the urge to pass a bowel movement. If you do happen to get constipated, don’t strain on the toilet. Try taking a laxative (check with your doctor first) to treat it and work to make changes in your diet and lifestyle to avoid constipation in the future.
USE PROPER POSTURE ON THE TOILET.
It sounds strange, but using the correct posture when you use the toilet is important. Many experts recommend using a stool for your feet when you pass a bowel movement. This helps to put you in more of a squatting position, which makes passing a bowel movement easier. You can buy special stool, like the Squatty Potty, designed to slide under the toilet when not in use, but a regular stool works just as well.
USE A BLADDER DIARY.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly what we were doing during the times we experience leaks. By keeping a diary, you can track what type of activity you were doing, what you had to eat, what time of day it was, or any other variable that may have triggered your accident. Each event may feel unimportant at the time, but looked at over the course of several days, you may be able to spot a pattern that’s contributing to your bladder leaks. This is a super helpful document for your doctor too, so make sure to bring it to any appointments you have where you’ll be discussing incontinence. (Download a free bladder/bowel diary here!)
DON’T BE AFRAID TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.
It can feel embarrassing to talk to people about your incontinence, but trust us when we say that your doctor has heard it all before and won’t think anything of it. It’s their job to listen to your concerns and help come up with a treatment plan for you. Your doctor can inform you of the many treatment options available to you (check out some of them here on this site before your appointment) and will make sure that you are on the right track to staying dry. (Click here for tips on talking to your doctor.)