We all know that cigarette smoking is bad for us. But did you know that it can also lead to incontinence? Studies have shown that smokers are at an increased risk for incontinence. Over time, many smokers develop a chronic cough, which can put an enormous amount of pressure on the pelvic muscles, causing them to weaken and increasing the chance of stress incontinence. Additionally, smokers also experience more frequent urges to use the restroom, as smoking is an irritant to the bladder. Even more alarming, it’s been shown that smoking can also lead to bladder cancer.
What’s a smoker to do?
The obvious fix is to quit smoking – not only to alleviate or prevent incontinence, but for a host of other health reasons as well. While quitting is not easy, there are a few things you can do to help you succeed:
- Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help give you tips to quit, and may suggest medication or programs that can help.
- Get the support of your family and friends. Tell your loved ones what you are trying to do so that they can support you and give you the encouragement you need when you are feeling tempted to smoke.
- Avoid your triggers. Many people feel the urge to smoke during certain activities – grabbing drinks with friends, at certain times of the day, etc. Try to avoid these activities for a while or find ways to stay busy during your usual smoking times.
- Take up a hobby. With all the time you’ll save by not smoking, you may be able to finally start that project or hobby you’ve been thinking about. Doing something with your hands (knitting, woodworking, etc.)may also help keep you busy and help you avoid the urge to pick up a cigarette.
Smoking is a hard habit to quit for many people. But with determination and perseverance, it can be done. And it’s never too late to see the benefits of quitting – a recent study showed that even smokers who quit in their 60’s saw an increase in their lifespan.
Have any tips for quitting? Please share them with our readers in the comments below!