Think Incontinence is just something that happens to us as we age? Think again. Incontinence affects over 25 million Americans, and can happen to anyone, at any age. There are many things that may put you at risk for leaks, including these four lifestyle habits:
Smoking. Need yet another reason to kick this bad habit? Smoking is a bladder irritant, which can cause overactive bladder symptoms, such as urge incontinence. Many think that the nicotine in cigarettes may increase bladder contractions, which can contribute to these symptoms. In addition, chronic coughing, which many smokers experience, puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the pelvic floor, causing it to weaken over time. Quit smoking for good to eliminate this possible contributor to incontinence.
Not getting good exercise. Staying active every day is important for your overall health, but did you know that it also helps keep your bladder and bowel in check too? Incorporating regular physical activity, such as walking for 30 minutes each day, helps to stimulate the muscular activity of your bowel, keeping you regular. It also ensures that you maintain a healthy body weight, which reduces the pressure felt on your pelvic floor. Incorporating specific pelvic floor exercises into your routine can ensure that you are maintaining good pelvic floor strength, which also helps you to better control leaks.
Keeping A Poor Diet. We all know that eating well is important. But a poor diet can also cause bladder or bowel problems by making you constipated. Constipation contributes to bladder or bowel leakage in a few ways. The rectum and the bladder share many of the same nerves, and constipation can cause these nerves to be overactive and increase urinary frequency (a symptom of overactive bladder). Additionally, chronic constipation can stretch the sphincter muscles over time, making them too weak and causing fecal incontinence. Incorporating fiber into your diet can help to keep you regular and avoid constipation.
Not keeping your weight in check. Being overweight puts additional stress on the pelvic floor. Over time, this can cause the pelvic floor to weaken, and can lead to incontinence symptoms. Obesity can also lead to Type 2 diabetes, which can cause nerve damage in the bladder or bowel. Keep your weight in check by sticking to a daily exercise routine and maintaining a healthy diet.