Reduce your chances of developing incontinence by adopting a healthy lifestyle
Make it your aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Strengthen pelvic floor muscles through targeted exercises. Pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by a number of factors including pregnancy, childbirth, chronic coughs, heavy lifting and obesity.
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Eat Fibre. Found in foods such as cereals, whole grain or multi-grain breads, nuts, fruit and vegetables fibre helps keep things moving by absorbing water and adding bulk to bowel motions.
DRINK 6-8 CUPS (1.5 - 2 LITRES) OF WATER A DAY
Reduce your intake of drinks that may irritate the bladder. This includes alcohol, fizzy drinks and those that have caffine in them.
Try to drink, throughout the day, 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day. That's about 6 to 8 cups. If its hot or you are exercising ensure you get plenty of fluids and drink more than you would usually.
If you do have a bladder control problem, reduce the urge to reduce your fluid intake. This may make your urine more concentrated and worsen the situation.
MAINTAIN AN IDEAL BODY WEIGHT
Obesity can lead to bladder and bowel control problems and excess body fat can cause strain to the pelvic floor.
A chronic cough caused by smoking may also weaken pelvic floor muscles. For help contact Quitline on 131 848
UNDERTAKE GOOD TOILET HABITS
- Go to the toilet when you need to. Not just in case
- Go when you feel the need to open your bowels. They will most effectively empty at this time. Most people find this is first thing in the morning or after a meal.
- Get help for urinary tract infections.
- Get help if needed for constipation. It may affect the bladder and bowel function as straining stretches and weakens pelvic floor muscles
If you are experiencing any problems and think you may have a bladder or bowel problem see your doctor.
Symptoms are unlikely to go away on your own and will probably get worse.