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Incontinence Stories From Experts & Real People | NAFC BHealth Blog

Log in daily to learn tips about #incontinence, #bladder leakage, overcoming symptoms, and first hand accounts from experts and patients.

 

Filtering by Category: tips

Patient Perspective - Teen Bedwetting

Sarah Jenkins

Patient Perspective - teen bedwetting

I’m sharing this story as an adult, but it is really about my childhood. I suffered from bedwetting when I was young and it lasted until I was almost a teenager.  I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents, but that didn’t stop the shame I felt every time it happened. It never felt like a big deal until I was around 7. Then I started getting invited to sleep overs, which were always very stressful for me. I was constantly scared of wetting the bed at someone else’s house and of my friends learning my secret. I started to turn down invitations simply because of my fear, and the problem began to effect me emotionally. Luckily, my bedwetting slowed down a lot after I was around 9, but I still had an occasional accident through age 12.

I’m not sure what I would have done I hadn’t had such wonderful parents to help me through it. They never made me feel bad about it, and always were as discreet as possible when helping me clean up after an accident. Their support took a lot of the pressure off of me, which I think would have only added to my problem back then. I now have a 3-year old myself, and, knowing that they could possibly experience prolonged bedwetting (after all – it is hereditary) shows me how stressful it can be for a parent. If you are a parent of a young child reading this, please take this one thing away:  Support your child, even if their problem has caused you countless sleepless nights, extra loads of laundry, and profound frustrations. I can tell you first-hand that it likely pales in comparison to the shame they’ve felt themselves. And the support and understanding you can give to them during this time will do wonders for their self-esteem and sense of wellbeing. They will remember it forever – I know I have.

Terry B., Salt Lake City, Utah

Need a solution for nighttime bedwetting? Try NAFC's Bedwetting Kit, available here.

Ask The Expert: What's The Difference Between IBS And Crohn's Disease?

Sarah Jenkins

Ask The Expert

Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question: What’s the difference between IBS and Crohn’s Disease? Could I have both?

Answer: While both of these conditions seem to have similar symptoms, they are in fact different, and, yes, it is possible for someone to have both at the same time. Here’s a quick breakdown of the two:

Crohn’s Disease is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that affects parts of the digestive tract. Symptoms often include diarrhea, a frequent need to move your bowels, stomach pain, and bloating (all symptoms of IBS). However, with Crohn’s disease, patients also may notice things like vomiting, tiredness, weight loss, fever, or even bleeding.  It’s not certain what causes Crohn’s disease, but most experts believe it is an abnormality in the immune system that can trigger the condition. Chron’s disease is also more common in those with a family history of the disease.

IBS (also called “spastic colon”) carries similar symptoms to Crohn’s disease – cue the diarrhea, frequent trips to the bathroom, and stomach pain.  However, treatment for Crohn’s disease and IBS are different so it pays to be examined for both so that you understand what is causing your symptoms and you can treat it appropriately.  Testing for both conditions can be done with a physical exam, blood test, and usually a colonoscopy or other type of endoscopy procedure.

If you experience any symptoms related to IBS or Crohn’s disease, make an appointment with your doctor today to get tested.

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Have a question you'd like answered? Contact us!

Do I Have Nocturia?

Sarah Jenkins

 Do I Have Nocturia?

It’s 2 am and you’re up to use the bathroom. Again. Sound familiar? If your bladder is constantly waking you up to relieve itself, you may suffer from a condition called nocturia. 

Nocturia is defined as the need to use the bathroom 2 or more times in one night. It’s a very common condition – in fact, 1 in 3 adults over the age of 30 have it – although it tends to occur more as we age.  Nocturia causes us to wake up multiple times at night, disrupting our sleep, which can cause some serious side effects. The interrupted sleep caused by nocturia can cause real problems with your quality of life and your health. Many people dealing with nocturia experience fatigue, poor physical function, and decreased cognitive function due to insufficient sleep. Nocturia is also associated with an increased risk for falls (especially worrisome for older adults) and mortality, so it’s a good idea to get it treated. 

The causes of nocturia can vary, but it’s most often caused by nocturnal polyuria, a condition where the kidneys produce too much urine.  That’s why treating nocturia at the source is so important.  If you’re only focused on treating, say, overactive bladder, you’re only targeting the bladder, not the kidneys. In reality, both conditions should be treated to effectively manage their respective symptoms.

How do I know if I have nocturia?

If you often wake up 2 or more times in one night to use the bathroom, you probably have nocturia. You may also notice that you feel groggy during the day and your productivity may even be impacted.  If this sounds like you, don’t let it go untreated.

Start by keep a bladder diary for a few days to see if you can spot any trends. (Download our free bladder diary for nocturia here.) You may notice that you’re consuming a certain type or quantity of food or drink on the nights your nocturia occurs. Or maybe a specific medication that you take at night is the culprit. Track your activity for a few days then make some adjustments on your findings to see if it makes a difference.  Some things you may want to try include:

  • Limiting fluids a few hours before bed. This includes water rich foods as well.
  • Avoiding alcohol or caffeine before bed
  • Elevating your legs, or wearing compression stockings (if you notice you have any ankle or calve swelling during the day, indicating fluid build up in the legs.

If none of these behavioral options work, you’ll need to make a visit to your doctor to rule out some of the other potential causes of your nocturia. Your doctor can also prescribe a medication specifically for nocturia to help eliminate your nighttime bathroom trips (Noctiva, the first FDA approved treatment of nocturia has recently become available).

Need help finding a specialist near you? Use our specialist finder!

References: 1. Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Donald L. Bilwise, Jens Peter Norgaard. The effect of nocturia on sleep. Sleep Med Review. 2011 April; 15(2): 91-97. 2. Kupelian V, Wei JT, O'Leary MP, Norgaard JP, Rosen RC, McKinlay JB. Nocturia and quality of life: results from the Boston Area Community Health Survey. Eur Urol. 2012;61(1):78-84. 3. Cappuccio FP, Cooper D, D'Elia L, Strazzullo P, Miller MA. Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and metoanalysis of prospective studies. Eur Heart J. 2011;32(12):1484-1492. 4. Fiske J, Scarpero HM, Xue X, Nitti VW. Degree of bother caused by nocturia in women. Neurourol Urodyn. 2004;23(2):130–3. 5. Ohayon MM. Nocturnal awakenings and comorbid disorders in the American general population. J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Nov;43(1):48–54.  6. Kobelt G, Borgstrom F, Mattiasson A. Productivity, vitality and utility in a group of healthy professionally active individuals with nocturia. BJU Int. 2003 Feb;91(3):190–5. 7. Nakagawa H, Ikeda Y, Niu K, Kaiho Y, Ohmori-Matsuda K, Nakaya N, et al. Does nocturia increase fall-related fractures and mortality in a community-dwelling elderly population aged 70 years and over? Results of a 3-year prospective cohort study in Japan. Neurourol Urodyn. 2008;27:674–5. 8. Asplund R. Hip fractures, nocturia, and nocturnal polyuria in the elderly. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2006 Nov;43(3):319–26. [PubMed] 9. Weiss JP. Prevalence of nocturnal polyuria in nocturia. J Urol. 2009;181(4):538.  10. Weiss JP, van Kerrebroeck PE, Klein BM, Norgaard JP. Excessive nocturnal urine production is a major contributing factor to the etiology of nocturia. J Urol. 2011;186(4):1358-1363.

NAFC Resources To Help You Manage And Treat Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

 NAFC Resources To Help You Manage Incontinence

If you have incontinence, it can be hard to know the next steps to take for treatment. Maybe you’ve just started experiencing leaks and are looking for a solution. Or maybe you’ve been living with bladder leaks for a while and are finally ready to seek help. Either way, NAFC has you covered. Whether you are looking for downloadable tools, patient stories, help with finding a specialist, others like you to talk with, or educational videos, we’ve probably got it. Take a look at our many resources below and spend some time exploring our site. You’re sure to find some new tools you didn’t know about that may be just what you need to push you to that next phase of treatment. 

Learning Library

Not a fan of reading? No problem! The Learning Library is full of educational videos on incontinence, management options, inspirational stories, and education about your condition. Check it out here.

Find A Specialist Tool

The Find A Specialist Tool helps you find a professional in your area to treat your specific problem. Sort by area, and occupation, then click in to specialists in your area to see their specialty, gender, patient focus, and practice information including address, website and phone number.  Need help understanding the different types of specialists out there? Read our breakdown here.

Diaries

Ever thought about writing down your bladder and bowel habits? We know it sounds weird, but tracking your bathroom activities, leaks, food and drink intake, and physical activity can actually shed a lot of light on your issue and may highlight specific triggers that are causing you to experience leaks. NAFC offers FREE bladder and bowel diaries that you can download directly from our site. Download them here!

NAFC Bedwetting Kit

If you are one of the millions who live with a bedwetting problem, we’ve got your back. As one of the most searched for topics on nafc.org, we’ve worked with Home Delivery Incontinence Supply (HDIS) to develop a kit just for you that allows you to try out a variety of different absorbent and protection products at a very low price. You’ll be able to speak with an HDIS consultant about your problem and get recommendations specifically for you.  Plus, it’s all delivered straight to your home in a non-descript package. It couldn’t be much easier than that! Learn more about the NAFC Bedwetting Kit and order yours here.

OAB Treatment Tracker

OAB, or Overactive Bladder, is that frustrating condition that causes you have to need the bathroom every 5 minutes, and right away!  The urge comes on suddenly and can lead to leaks if you aren’t able to make it in time. There are lots of treatment options for OAB, and the OAB Treatment Tracker helps you find one that’s right for you. Take the short quiz and receive a customized printout of your answers, plus information about treatments that may be right for you. This is a great tool to take with you to your doctor to help facilitate a discussion about the condition and treatments you may want to try. Take the quiz now!

BHealth Blog

If you’re reading this article, you likely already know about the BHealth Blog. It’s a great place to find new information and perspectives on incontinence, pelvic floor disorders, and new developments in these fields. We also regularly have experts weigh in on reader questions, offer patient perspectives on different conditions or treatment options, and provide tips and tricks for managing your condition.  Add the BHealth Blog to your bookmarked page and visit us often to stay abreast of all things incontinence. Or sign up for our RSS feed here! 

NAFC Newsletter

The NAFC Consumer Newsletter, On The Go, is sent out once a month and is filled with educational articles, perspectives and expert advice. Like our blog, we offer new learning’s every month. It’s a great way to stay up to date and learn new management tips. Sign up for the NAFC Newsletter here! 

(Psst – are you a healthcare professional? When you sign up as an HCP you’ll receive a special newsletter, The Continence Connection, geared just toward you!) 

NAFC Message Boards

With nearly 2,000 users, the NAFC Message Boards has become THE place to go to connect with others also experiencing incontinence issues. Join the message board community to hear what others have to say about a variety of topics including fighting the social stigma of incontinence, finding new treatments, controlling odors, managing the emotional impact of incontinence, bedwetting and much, much more.  Join today and read through the posts. And when you’re ready, add your voice.

FREE Downloadable Tools and Brochures

Our Resource Center may just be one of the best-kept secrets of NAFC. It’s loaded with brochures and tips sheets on a variety of topics, most of which you can download for FREE. Check out brochures on Addressing and Treating Adult Bedwetting, Guides for Home Hygiene, Caregiver Booklets, a Pelvic Organ Prolapse Brochure, Overactive Bladder and Stress Urinary Incontinence Brochures, and more.  Visit the Resource Center today and explore all the tools available to you.

Have any other ideas for tools or resources we could provide to you? We’re all ears!  Let us know in the comments below!

NAFC's Review Of 3 Popular Kegel Apps

Sarah Jenkins

 NAFC's Review Of Three Popular Kegel Apps

You’ve probably heard that kegel exercises are important for your pelvic floor health. This is true – strong pelvic floor muscles can help you keep control of your bladder so you’re not leaking when you sneeze or laugh, and a toned pelvic floor can even improve your sex life!  But when it comes to doing them, well, they’re easy to dismiss or forget.

That’s where an app comes in handy. There’s an app for everything these days, it seems, and kegel exercises are no exception. And while we always advocate getting a proper examination of your pelvic floor prior to beginning any work out program (especially if you are experiencing problems in that area), these apps can do wonders in teaching you how to do the moves that strengthen and relax your pelvic floor, in addition to just reminding you to do the exercises in the first place.

We reviewed three popular apps for increasing pelvic floor health. Read our takeaways below!

Kegel Trainer – Exercises

This is the most basic trainer of the three we tested, with all of the exercises focused on kegels exclusively. The sessions are between 30 to 3:00 minutes each, and are appropriate for men and women. The app is free to download, but to get past the second level or gain access to additional features, you’ll need to pay up to $5.49, depending on what you want to access.  If you’re looking for a very simple app that gives you daily reminders to do your kegels, this works well. But we wish it had a bit more in the way of education on how to do a kegel, and a greater variety of pelvic floor exercises.

Download the app: Google Play, iTunes

Squeezy

NHS Pelvic Floor App: At $3.99, this app is a bit pricy, but the simple interface, and the fact that it was designed by physiotherapists specializing in Women’s Health make it well worth it.  The app comes with customizable exercise plans, reminders to do your exercises, and a “professional mode” which allows your physical therapist to help create a detailed plan for you. Visual and audio guides help ensure that you’re doing the exercises correctly, and you’re able to track and monitor your progress over time. This is a great app for anyone looking to improve problems related to bladder, bowel, or pelvic floor muscles and is an excellent compliment to physical therapy programs.

Download the app: Google Play, iTunes

Pelvic Floor First

Developed by the Continence Foundation of Australia, this app is all encompassing and provides you with a complete workout regimen for getting your pelvic floor and core in shape. It’s great for women experiencing leaks, overactive bladder, women with prolapse, or women experiencing painful sex or pelvic pain. We love that this app gives a good overview of how the muscles work, and a visual of your anatomy so that you can actual see how the pelvic muscles are connected and what they support.  The video & audio guides for each move are very helpful, and we love that the focus is not just on kegels, but building strength throughout the core, which is critical to having a strong pelvic floor.  Workout moves are separated into three categories from beginner to advanced, and in total last from 30-50 minutes. But, you can also choose to view individual exercise moves and save them to form your own custom workouts if you choose. The app also has a share option, which is nice if you’d like to work with your physical therapist on monitoring your workouts. This is a great overall app for working your pelvic floor.  And best of all, it’s FREE!

Download the app: Google Play, iTunes

As always, we recommend that you consult with a physical therapist prior to starting a pelvic floor exercise program, especially if you are experiencing any types of bladder, bowel or pelvic floor issues.  Sometimes these issues may be caused by a pelvic floor that is too tight, and doing certain exercises, such as kegels, may exacerbate those issues.  A physical therapist can give you a thorough evaluation and recommend a plan that works best for you.

The Best Bathroom Locator Apps

Sarah Jenkins

 The Best Bathroom Finder Apps

We’ve all been there – you’re out and about and the sudden urge to go to the bathroom strikes out of nowhere. You race to find a bathroom, praying to make it in time (and praying that the conditions of the facility are acceptable). This scenario is no fun at all. But luckily, there are some clever apps out there that make finding a bathroom a little easier, and give you more confidence when traveling, running errands, or socializing with friends and family. Here’s our roundup of the 4 best Bathroom Finders available now. All are available on IOS and Android platforms.

Sit Or Squat:

Sit Or Squat was developed by Charmin to help you find a public restroom near you, wherever you may be (even traveling outside the US). Boasting 100,000 listings, this app has you covered, and is easy and free to use. Sit or Squat allows you to view bathrooms in list or map view, and lets you filter locations for things like ‘handicap accessible’, or ‘baby changing table’. It also lets you rate bathrooms by cleanliness (a  “Sit” rating indicates a clean bathroom while a “Squat” rating indicates a bathroom with less desirable conditions.) All in all, this is a great app with an easy to use interface.

Download the app: Google Play, iTunes

Got To Go Restroom Finder

The Got TO Go Restroom Finder App is free to download and operates only in North America, and lists restrooms as a map or list view.  Users are able to filter views by which locations are open near them, and the type of location it is (gas station, restaurant, retail store, or government/public building). You can also see cleanliness ratings, rate the bathroom yourself, or add new bathrooms to the app.

Download the app: Google Play, iTunes

Bathroom Scout

Bathroom Scout has over 1,800,000 bathrooms listed worldwide, including public toilets, or restrooms in restaurants and other facilities. The service offers turn by turn directions to bathrooms near you, the ability to see a Google Street View of the location (if images are available), and the ability to rate the condition of the bathrooms.  The free version contains ads, but the paid pro version also offers a satellite view, no ads, and a waterfall sound for when you need a bit of sound cover when using a public restroom.

Download the app: Google Play, iTunes

Flush

Flush operates worldwide with 190,000 restrooms stored in it’s free app. Like others listed here, you can see restrooms by both map and list view and get directions to nearby toilets. Flush also lets you filter bathrooms by “disabled access, “requires key”, and “requires fee”.  Another great feature is that the app works even when you don’t have an internet connection, allowing you to find a bathroom in an emergency even when cell service is spotty.

Download the app: Google Play, iTunes

Keep in mind that these apps are only updated when users add new information, such as new locations, information, or ratings. So they likely wont have every available toilet listed, and you may not know all the details on cleanliness or other features if users have not rated it.  But, in a pinch, it can be nice to have one of these apps handy to help you out. And, if you add your own finds in places that you visit frequently, it can serve as a helpful tool for you day-to-day when you’re out and about in your community.

Do you know of any other helpful apps you think might benefit our readers? Share them in the comments below!

Your Guide To Personal Lubricants

Sarah Jenkins

Your Guide To Personal Lubricants - Facebook.png

Sex is a great way to connect with your partner. But as our bodies change, certain conditions can make sex more challenging than it used to be.  For those with pelvic floor issues, it’s common to also see a reduction in natural lubrication. And as women enter menopause, the decrease in estrogen levels can reduce the amount of moisture available, and can make the vaginal wall thinner and less elastic. And even if you aren’t yet experiencing menopause, common occurrences such as stress, lack of sleep, or other medical conditions can often lead to vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort on it’s own, but it can wreak havoc on your sex life, making it painful and uncomfortable. Lucky for us there are a plethora of choices for personal lubrication that will have you back on track in no time. If you experience any dryness during sex, try using lubrication to help remove the unwanted friction and make sex more enjoyable for both you and your partner. 

Popular Types Of Personal Lubricants

Water-based lubricants  

This is the most natural feeling lubricant and one of the most poplar. Note that a water-based lubricant will dry out faster than other forms and you may need to reapply it during sex.

Silicone-based lubricants 

Silicone lubricants are a bit slicker than water-based ones, and they may be used in water. They also last a bit longer than water-based lubricants so you won’t need to apply them as often. Avoid using silicone-based lubricants with silicone sex toys though, as it can deteriorate softer silicone sex toys due to how the molecules interact with other silicone products.

Hybrid lubricants  

Hybrids are a blend of water-based and silicone-based lubricants. They provide the feeling usually associated with a water-based product, but they won’t dry out quite as quickly. Note: because these are typically 90% water-based, they won’t work well in water.

Oil-based lubricants 

Oil-based lubricants – including petroleum jelly – are the least commonly used. Coconut or VitE oil are good daily options to use for general vaginal dryness. However, oil-based lubricants should never be used with condoms, latex, diaphragms, or rubber, since the oil will weaken these materials and may cause them to be ineffective.

Everyone’s preference is different and what may work great for one person may not be the best choice for you. Don’t be afraid to try out different types of lube to find one that you like best. 


Dear Readers:  NAFC provides free education and resources to over a million people each year. We are a small non-profit that operates with all the expenses of a large organization - website maintenance and upkeep, servers, staff, and the development of continued educational tools and programs. Please help us continue our mission by making a donation. Even a small gift can make a difference and will help ensure we are able to keep this FREE resource alive and help more people learn to live a Life Without Leaks. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

How To Relax Your Pelvic Floor

Sarah Jenkins

Copy of How To Relax The Pelvic Floor.png

What Is The Pelvic Floor And Why Should I Relax It?

The pelvic floor is a web of muscles that acts as a sling, supporting your bladder, bowel and uterus. It is responsible for helping you control your bladder and bowel, and also plays a role in sexual intercourse. Many women experience pelvic floor issues, such as incontinence, as a result of childbirth, obesity, chronic constipation, or other strains put on the pelvic floor. Often, a weakening of the pelvic floor causes these issues, but did you know that having a pelvic floor that is too tense can also create problems? Incontinence, trouble emptying your bladder, and even pain during sex can be signs of a pelvic floor that is too tense.

Luckily, pelvic floor tension is a problem that you can do something about. Below are some simple exercises that may help you to relax your pelvic floor muscles. These can all be done in your home, discretely, and with no equipment necessary.

Note: It is always recommended to consult a pelvic floor physical therapist prior to performing exercises related to the pelvic floor. A physical therapist can provide you with a proper diagnosis and put you on custom treatment plan just for you! Find a physical therapist in your area here!

Diaphragmatic Breathing For Pelvic Floor Relaxation:

The diaphragm works in synergy with the pelvic floor and helps to promote muscle relaxation. This is important for decreasing pain and promoting optimal muscle function.

  1. Place one hand on your chest and another hand on your belly, just below your rib cage.
  2. Take a deep breath in to the count of three, and then exhale to the count of four.
  3. When you inhale, your pelvic floor relaxes, and as you exhale, your pelvic floor returns to its resting state.
  4. Practice this breathing for 5-10 minutes each day.

Note: You’ll know that you are using your diaphragm correctly if you feel the hand on your belly rise and fall.

Pelvic Girdle Stretches For Pelvic Floor Relaxation

All of the following positions are great for practicing diaphragmatic breathing!

Happy Baby Pose:

 Happy Baby Pose

Happy Baby Pose

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Open your knees wider than your chest and bring them up towards your armpits. You may hold your legs with your arms behind your knees or at your ankles, but try to keep your ankles over your knees.
  3. You can either hold this position or gently rock on your back from side to side
 
 Child's Pose

Child's Pose

Child’s Pose:

  1. Start on your hands and knees.
  2. Spread your knees wide apart while keeping your big toes touching.
  3. Gently bow forward, moving your torso downwards, between your thighs. Keep your arms stretched out long and in front of you.
 

Adductor Stretching:

  1. Lie on your back with the soles of your feet together and knees out to the sides.
  2. This should be a relaxing position. If you feel a pulling along your inner thighs or in your pubic bones, place pillows under your knees for support.
 Aductor Stretch

Aductor Stretch

 
 Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis Stretching:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  2. Place your left ankle on your right knee, like a figure four.
  3. Pull your right thigh toward your chest to feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

Dear Readers:  NAFC provides free education and resources to over a million people each year. We are a small non-profit that operates with all the expenses of a large organization - website maintenance and upkeep, servers, staff, and the development of continued educational tools and programs. Please help us continue our mission by making a donation. Even a small gift can make a difference and will help ensure we are able to keep this FREE resource alive and help more people learn to live a Life Without Leaks. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Patient Perspective: How Acknowledging My Pelvic Floor Changed My Life

Sarah Jenkins

Pelvic Floor Strengthening

I’ve experienced bladder leaks for about 5 years. After I had my second daughter, I started noticing leakage here and there. I always assumed it would go away, but it never did. I spent the first year attributing it all to childbirth, and let’s be honest, I didn’t really have the time to worry about myself much with a newborn baby. But, after my daughter’s first year, what I thought was a problem that would clear up on it’s own continued, and I began to take more notice. The leaks were more frequent, not less, and I started to feel ashamed about it. I’d never heard any of my friends talking about this side effect of motherhood – why was it happening to me?

I finally decided to visit my OB/Gyn to see what he recommended and he referred me to a Physical Therapist who solely focuses on the pelvic floor (yes! there really is such a thing!). The PT did a thorough evaluation and said the cause of my problem was due to a weakened pelvic floor that most likely occurred during childbirth.

I’ve never been what you would call athletic. I have a gym membership but don’t visit all that often. I sit at work all day, and get most of my exercise running around after my two girls. And God knows I could stand to lose a bit more of the baby weight.  So when my PT said that she was going to put me on a workout program to get things back in shape, I was a bit worried. But her workout was low intensity – lots of walking to get my weight down (which would help put less pressure on my bladder and pelvic floor) and simple exercises that would strengthen not just my pelvic floor, but my core muscles too.

After 3 months of doing the workout I had lost about 8 pounds and my stomach and glut muscles were noticeably more toned. I also was noticing much fewer leaks and was able to control my bladder much better than before. And after 6 months of performing the workout, the leaks had stopped all together.

I can’t tell you what a difference this simple workout routine has made in my life – not only do I feel stronger and more in control, but it’s given me more confidence in the ability to change my body both in look and in function. I’m so proud of myself and my only regret is that I didn’t do something sooner. Ladies – if you’re experiencing bladder leaks, visit a PT and get on a workout program! It will literally change your life. It did for me!

Kimberly V., Englewood, CO

Ask The Expert: Should Men Do Kegels?

Sarah Jenkins

Ask The Expert Mens Kegels

Question: I hear about kegels for women all the time, but what about men? Can kegels benefit men too?

Expert Answer: Absolutely!  Kegels are an important part of a woman’s workout routine to prevent or manage bladder leaks, but they are just as important for men. In men, kegels can help with fecal incontinence, overactive bladder, urinary retention, erectile functioning and even orgasms.  Interested in seeing the benefits for yourself? Here’s how to do them:

How To Do Kegels For Men

There are two types of kegel exercises that you can do to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor muscles.

Long Contractions.  

Long Contractions work on the supportive strength of the muscles. To perform a long kegel contraction, tighten your pelvic muscles and hold for 5 seconds. This may be difficult at first – don’t worry if you can’t hold the contraction for the full five seconds. With practice you’ll be able to work up to this.

Overtime, work your way up to 10 seconds per contraction. Be sure to rest for 10 seconds in between each contraction – knowing how to relax your muscle is as important as the contraction.

Short Contractions.  

Short contractions work the fast twitch muscles that work quickly to stop the flow of urine and prevent leaks. To perform a short contraction, tighten your muscles quickly, then release, and repeat.

When Should I Perform Them?

Like any muscle, you don’t want to do too much too soon. Aim for 5 reps of both short and long contractions, 3x per day on your first day. As you gain more confidence and strength, work your way up to 10 reps, 3x per day of each.

Continue practicing kegels and you should see improvements in 3-6 months. And, if you find that you need some help with kegels, talk to your doctor or physical therapist. They will be able to provide you with more personal instruction, which may include biofeedback therapy.

Good luck!

What Is The Pelvic Floor? (And Why Should I Care?)

Sarah Jenkins

What Is The Pelvic Floor - Facebook.png

If you’ve never thought much about your pelvic floor, you’re not alone. Most people don’t give this section of the body much consideration until it’s too late – they become incontinent, or worse, suffer a pelvic organ prolapse as a result of pregnancy, obesity or chronic constipation. But the pelvic floor is one of the most important muscles in the body, and ignoring it can have potentially great consequences later in life.

Anatomy

Let’s begin with a little bit of anatomy. The pelvic floor is a basket of muscles that supports some pretty major organs – your bladder, rectum and uterus in women, and your bladder, rectum and prostate in men, to be exact.  The muscles stretch across the pubic area from front to back and from side to side. They are typically very firm and thick, but are also flexible and are able to move up and down (kind of like a trampoline).

These muscles are very important in supporting the organs listed above, and are essential in maintaining control over our bladder and bowel. The pelvic floor muscles also play a large role in sexual function for men and women, and provide support for the baby during pregnancy. 

Over the course of our life, many things can compromise the stability of the pelvic floor, leading to things like incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse. Obesity, childbirth, chronic coughing, chronic constipation, or other things that put strain on the pelvic floor can cause it to weaken. And with age there is often a weakening of the connective tissues of the pelvic floor.

What You Can Do To Protect The Pelvic Floor

The good news is that much like the other muscles in the body, the pelvic floor can be trained and strengthened over time.  By learning to strengthen the pelvic floor, you may be able to prevent or even eliminate symptoms of incontinence or prolapse.

Read: 4 Moves to Help You Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Before You Get Pregnant

There are many exercises you can do to strengthen the pelvic floor. Kegels are great at isolating the pelvic floor muscles, but because the pelvic floor connects to many of the muscles that create your “core” (your diaphragm, transversus abdonminis, and multifidus), you also need to incorporate workouts that build strength in those areas as well. And remember – it’s not just about tightening. We need to ensure that our muscles are neither too tight, nor too loose. Learning how to relax the pelvic floor is just as important as learning how to strengthen it, since a pelvic floor that is too tight can create weakness and cause problems too. Like any other muscle in the body, we are looking for our muscles to be strong and flexible. 

Symptoms Of Pelvic Floor Tension

  • Constipation
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Inability to empty your bladder completely
  • Painful urination

If you experience these symptoms, we recommend that you see a pelvic floor physical therapist prior to starting any strengthening program. Performing strengthening exercises on a pelvic floor that is already too tight can create additional problems, or make any existing issues worse.

Symptoms Of Pelvic Floor Weakness

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urinary urgency/frequency
  • Stool and gas incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse, or the dropping of your organs through your vagina
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Pelvic girdle pain

Learning how to strengthen, and relax the pelvic muscles can help with pelvic floor weakness.

Want tips on how to improve your pelvic floor strength? Check out these great resources:

Incorporating Pelvic Floor Exercises Into Your General Workout Routine – 3 Best Moves To Add Now.

It’s All About The Base

Ask The Expert: Can Pelvic Floor Exercises Really Help My OAB Symptoms?

Men And Kegels – The Ultimate Guide

Note: If you are experiencing symptoms of either pelvic floor weakness or tension, we strongly advise you to see a physical therapist specialized in pelvic floor therapy. A physical therapist can help provide you with a diagnosis and put you on a custom treatment program specific to your needs.


Dear Readers:  NAFC provides free education and resources to over a million people each year. We are a small non-profit that operates with all the expenses of a large organization - website maintenance and upkeep, servers, staff, and the development of continued educational tools and programs. Please help us continue our mission by making a donation. Even a small gift can make a difference and will help ensure we are able to keep this FREE resource alive and help more people learn to live a Life Without Leaks. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Why A Healthy Pelvic Floor Is Important + A FREE Giveaway To help You Strengthen It & Stop Bladder Leaks For Good!

Sarah Jenkins

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Why The Pelvic Floor Is Important

If you follow along with NAFC on a regular basis, you know how much importance we place on maintaining a strong and healthy pelvic floor. It’s a vital part of maintaining continence, alleviating symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, and even reducing lower back pain. And don’t get us started on the benefits a strong pelvic floor has on sexual intercourse. It’s no wonder we focus so much on this magic group of muscles!

The pelvic floor is essentially a web of muscles that acts kind of like a basket holding up some pretty vital organs: the bladder, bowel and uterus.  When these muscles become weakened – from things like childbirth, heavy lifting, chronic coughing; basically anything that puts a lot of pressure on it - it can cause a loss of bladder or bowel control and can increase the risk of prolapse.  Weak pelvic floor muscles can also put strain on other muscles (the pelvic floor is connected to many other muscles in the body!) causing them to work overtime to make up for the lack of support in the pelvic floor. This imbalance can cause pain in other areas of the body too (lower back pain or hip pain for instance).

For these reasons, it’s important to make sure you’re incorporating pelvic floor and core exercises into your workouts each day. And don’t worry – the workouts don’t have to be long or strenuous. But just like every other muscle in the body, they need attention in order to maintain the strength needed to function properly. 

So, how do you get a strong pelvic floor? Some simple, daily exercises are all you need. We’ve teamed up with the folks at Carin to help you get started. Read below for information to how NAFC readers can get a free Carin Wearable Set

What is Carin?

Carin’s smart underwear is a new way to not only measure and manage leaks, but also to improve your pelvic floor strength so that you can get on with your life and eliminate those pesky leaks all together. It’s the only wearable pelvic floor exerciser on the market – painless, noninvasive, and high-tech. 

 Carin Smart Underwear Set

Carin Smart Underwear Set

 Carin Sensor

Carin Sensor

What’s Included in the Carin Smart Underwear Set?

Carin comes complete with a unique pair of highly absorbent underwear that can manage any leaks you may have. The set also comes with a sensor that snaps in the underwear, detects your body movement and monitors leakage. Finally, the Carin app helps you track your leaks and also sets you up on a daily workout plan to help you get stronger and manage leaks.

 Carin App

Carin App

How Does It Work?

The Carin exercise program contains two parts: a weekly measuring routine and a daily exercise routine. The Carin smart underwear is worn for at least 24 hrs. with the sensor snapped in. This is the ‘measuring day’. The sensor will detect the body’s movements and track any leakage that might occur. Based on leakage, the app will then begin to recommend specific exercise routines to help you strengthen your pelvic floor in an effort to reduce leaks. There is a weekly plan of video exercises ready for you to do for 10 minutes each day. 

After the second time of wearing the smart underwear, an intelligent algorithm calculates progress made within the Carin app. The app shows the impact of exercise by counting the reduction of leaks.  80% of women using Carin have reported seeing progress between 20% to 100% in as little as 4 weeks!


See Carin In Action

Want a sneak peak of what to expect with Carin? Watch the video below!

Try Carin For Free!

For a limited time, NAFC visitors can get a FREE set of Carin Smart Underwear to try at home yourself.  The first 100 respondents will receive a FREE set of Carin Smart Underwear in exchange for feedback on the product. Click below for more details on how you can get your FREE set of Carin Smart Underwear, valued at $180.  This is seriously a great deal and a great way to start improving your pelvic floor strength. Order your FREE set of Carin Smart Underwear today!

Note: As always, NAFC recommends that anyone experiencing a pelvic floor issue see a trained Physical Therapist prior to beginning any exercise program. A Physical Therapist can provide you with a proper diagnosis and set you up on a treatment plan specific to your condition. Need help finding a PT in your area? Click here.

How To Start A Walking Group

Sarah Jenkins

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Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of any health plan. It not only makes you look and feel better, but it can ward off other conditions such as diabetes, and incontinence. But, staying active can sometimes be easier said than done. Sometimes you just don’t feel like getting to the gym or working out on your own. That’s why we love the idea of starting your own walking group. A walking group is great because members can help keep you accountable for your activity, motivate you to succeed and push you beyond your normal limits. Plus, working out is always more fun if you have a buddy or a community to support you. So lace up your sneakers and check out our tips for getting your own group together!

5 Tips For Starting A Walking Group

1. Round up your squad!

Start by pulling together friends, family members, and co-workers who would like to join the group. If you need more members, try putting up a flyer in your gym, senior center, or library. 

2. Organize a kick-off meeting.  

Work together to decide on the goals of the group, and set some guidelines.  Here are some important things to consider:

  • When will you meet?
  • How often?
  • Will you walk when the weather is colder/raining/snowing?
  • Will you divide into smaller groups or all walk together?
  • How will you contact each other? Through email? A phone tree?

3. Set some goals.

Encourage members to set and share some personal goals to help keep everyone motivated. You may also choose to set a group goal, like walking x number of days a year, completing x number of steps, etc. Goals are a great way to make the group feel more cohesive and helps everyone keep at it (even when they may not feel like it!)

4. Start walking.

Walking is such a great workout because it’s free and easy to do. Set your date for your first walk and remind people to dress appropriately and for the weather.

5. Stay motivated.

Celebrate your successes! Have periodic dinners or coffee dates when you reach milestones as a group and encourage each other to keep going. Invite fitness speakers to talk with your group and provide extra motivation! And make sure to mix it up! Explore new routes or trails periodically to keep it interesting.

If the idea of starting a new group doesn’t appeal to you, try joining one that already exists. Many gyms or YMCA’s offer these types of groups and they are easy to join.

Walking can be a great way to stay healthy at any age and forming a community to do it makes it fun.  Start your walking group today!

Have any other tips for starting a walking group? Leave them in the comments below!


NAFC  is a small non-profit that operates with all the expenses of a large organization. Please help us continue our mission by making a donation. Even a small gift can make a difference and will help ensure we are able to keep this FREE resource alive and help more people learn to live a Life Without Leaks. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Don't Quit Exercising Because Of Urinary Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

working out with incontinence

Living with incontinence can pose many challenges. The condition can cause you to limit the life you once had - foregoing social events, distancing yourself from family and friends, and even missing days of work. So, it comes as no surprise that your workouts may also be affected. In fact, studies have shown that up to 20% of women have reported quitting their physical activities due to incontinence. Experiencing leakage when running or doing certain types of exercise is very common, but it’s not normal. You shouldn’t have to live with incontinence, and the good news is you don’t have to.

Why do I leak urine during my workouts?

Bladder leakage during your workout is due to a condition called Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI).  SUI is incontinence that occurs when you have a weak pelvic floor or sphincter muscle, and increased pressure is placed on your bladder. This can happen with things like sneezing, coughing, and, yes, certain forms of working out.

SUI occurs commonly with childbirth, but other conditions can also contribute to the condition. Chronic coughing, surgical procedures, menopause, and obesity can also contribute to SUI.

How To Manage Bladder Leakage During Exercise

The tips listed below can help you manage and treat the issue of bladder leaks. As always, when thinking about treatment options, it’s best to consult a trained physical therapist that can give you a proper examination. 

1. Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor.         

A weak pelvic floor can make you more susceptible to SUI. To learn how to strengthen it, make an appointment with a physical therapist who will teach you not only how to correctly perform a kegel, but also how to strengthen your whole core. You see, while the pelvic floor is important, it’s only one part of the equation. Your core muscles, hips, thighs, and glutes all play a part of maintaining proper alignment so it’s important to include these muscles in your daily workouts too.

Your PT will also teach you how to properly relax your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor muscles that are too tight can also be an issue with SUI, so you must learn to relax these muscles as well.

2.  Use a Pessary.

SUI often occurs in women who have experienced Pelvic Organ Prolapse. A pessary can be a great tool for this condition, especially when working out, since it helps hold everything in place, resulting in less pressure on your bladder.

3. Use Protection.

It goes without saying that if you’re experiencing leaks and want to continue to work out, you may need a little extra help. There are several absorbent products available that are designed specifically for working out. Experiment with different styles and fits to see what works for you.

4. Go Easy On The Fluids.

You should make sure you stay properly hydrated, but try limiting the amount of caffeinated beverages you’re drinking, especially before your workout. Caffeine can irritate the bladder making accidents more likely.

5. Watch What You Eat.

Similar to caffeine, certain foods can cause bladder irritation in some people. Spicy or acidic foods are especially common bladder irritants and should be avoided.

6. Empty Your Bladder Before Starting Your Workout.

Make sure to use the bathroom just before any strenuous workout, like running to avoid extra strain on your bladder.

7. Try Retraining Your Bladder

Just like any muscle in the body, your bladder can be trained. Try scheduling your bathroom visits in intervals and slowly work up to longer stretches of time.

8. Wear Black Pants.

This is a simple trick, but can help you prevent (or at least cover up) any embarrassing leaks. The color black can help hide any leaks. Loose fitting clothing can also help hide any extra protection that you may be using to prevent leakage.

As you can see, there are several options for managing urine leakage while exercising. Try incorporating some of the above tips and don’t let incontinence keep you from getting your work out! 

Have you tried any of the tips above, or do you have others you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments below!


NAFC  is a small non-profit that operates with all the expenses of a large organization. Please help us continue our mission by making a donation. Even a small gift can make a difference and will help ensure we are able to keep this FREE resource alive and help more people learn to live a Life Without Leaks. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Ask The Expert: How Do I Talk With My Husband About His Incontinence?

Sarah Jenkins

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Question:  My husband of 47 years has recently started experiencing incontinent episodes. He’s a very proud man and doesn’t want to admit them to me, but it’s starting to become a problem due to the increased laundry, smell and his overall depressed attitude about it. How can I get him to open up and talk with me about it?

 

Answer:

This is a common problem in marriages, especially pertaining to men. Most men don’t want to admit they have a problem with bladder control. They feel ashamed, and hate the idea of wearing protection. He may never come out and admit it to you on his own, so here are some tips to broach the subject with him:

1. Make him feel comfortable.

As you’ve already figured out, incontinence is a very uncomfortable subject for your husband. Make him feel at ease and approach him about his bladder leakage in a way that is not threatening or accusatory. Find some neutral territory and talk to him at a time when he feels good. Don’t try to broach this subject right after he’s had an accident.  That will only make him feel more embarrassed and ashamed.

2. Show him that you are understanding and want to help him with his bladder leakage.

Before you talk with him, do a little research on incontinence and learn what may be causing the issue. Did he just have prostate surgery? Is there something else that has changed recently that could be contributing to his accidents? Read about the causes, and the many different treatment options and management strategies for bladder leakage. Show him that there are ways to manage the condition and that he doesn’t have to just live with it. Let him know that you care about him and want to help. Show him that you are a team so that he doesn’t feel so alone.

3. Encourage him to seek treatment for his incontinence.

Incontinence can often be a symptom of an underlying condition. Let your husband know that you want him to talk with a doctor to make sure that there is nothing serious going on, and to help him get the problem under control. He may be resistant to speaking with his doctor, but press on (slowly). The sooner he confronts his incontinence with a professional, the sooner he can begin treatment and start feeling like himself again. (Find a specialist in your area with our Specialist Locator.)

4. Be his advocate for care.

Because your husband is so embarrassed about his incontinence, you may need to be his voice when seeking out treatment options. Help him research incontinence so that you both can learn more about it. Write out questions that he can bring with him to the doctors office to ensure he doesn’t forget anything important. Be sure to voice any concerns over treatment options. And help him stay the course on his path to treatment.

5. Introduce him to the NAFC message boards.

The NAFC message boards are a great place for your husband to explore and ask questions – anonymously! There are many people on the boards who may be experiencing the same things he is who he can talk to. Plus, with so many people dealing with incontinence in the same spot, there are lots of learnings and tips he may be able to pull from to help his own situation. (As an aside, the message boards may also be a great spot for you to do some research too.  Talk with other caregivers to get some ideas. Or ask other men living with incontinence how you might be able to best approach your husband about the topic.)

It’s never easy talking about incontinence to a loved one – especially men. But by being a caring and supportive spouse, you’ll show your husband that you are in his corner, and that you are there to help. Good luck!


NAFC  is a small non-profit that operates with all the expenses of a large organization. Please help us continue our mission by making a donation. Even a small gift can make a difference and will help ensure we are able to keep this FREE resource alive and help more people learn to live a Life Without Leaks. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Ask The Expert: How Do I Avoid Leaks When Visiting Loved Ones?

Sarah Jenkins

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Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question: I suffer from incontinence and will be visiting my daughter for 3 weeks this holiday season. I’m terrified I’ll have an accident at her house. Do you have any precautions I can take to avoid leaks and the accompanying embarrassment?

Answer: This is a common concern and is a great topic to discuss around the holidays. There are many things you can do to avoid leaks, as well as a few things you can have at the ready in case a leak does happen at your loved one’s home.  

As always, preparation is key, and will help give you some peace of mind knowing that you have the proper products in place to prevent leaks. Be sure to bring plenty of supplies with you: absorbent products for day and night, extra changes of clothes (black is a great color choice since it goes with everything and hides leaks well), and extra medication, if you’re on it. After all, when traveling during the winter season, anything is possible and delayed or canceled flights can leave you unprepared – pack extras so that you have enough to last you for a few extra days just in case. If you have trouble at night, bring your own waterproof pad (or two) to protect the bedding. Don’t forget about any other supplies you may need – skin protectants or cleansers, detergents for doing a load of laundry, disposable plastic bags to hold used or wet products, and an odor neutralizing spray to hide any unwanted odors.

An extra bag can help you transport and hide your supplies, as well as serve as a place to store used products or clothes that you can dispose of when convenient for you.  And if you’re a woman, upgrade your purse to a tote bag that can hold extra supplies you may need when you’re out and about.

Finally, the holidays can be a time of indulgence, so watch what you’re eating and drinking. Skip the coffee and alcohol, limit spicy foods and sweets, and avoid any foods that you know irritate your bladder. 

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Have a question you'd like answered? Contact us!

Your Guide To Treating Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

Guide To Treating Incontinence

We're in the final stretch of Bladder Health Month and from now until the end of November, we'll be focusing on treatment. Hopefully you've been following along with us all month as we've talked about acceptance, how to manage your symptoms prior to talking to a doctor, and when and how to seek help. Now it's time to explore all the different options you have to get your bladder leaks under control.  

Treatment for incontinence has come a long way in recent years. Here’s a breakdown of steps you can take right now, as well as some more advanced options to look at for the future.

1. Management. Managing your incontinence is much different than treating your incontinence, but it is the logical first step. After all, you need to find some way to stay dry until you can properly address the issue. For most people, management will consist of a few things – finding a good absorbent product that works, and watching your food and drink intake to see if there are certain triggers that may make your incontinence worse. And while both of these can do wonders in helping you control the symptoms of incontinence, they’re not really addressing the true problem.

2. Behavioral Therapy.  Along with diet and exercise, there are several other things you may want to try when treating incontinence. Bladder and bowel retraining – which literally involves training your muscles to hold urine or bowel movements for longer more controlled periods of time – are a good step to try and improvements can often be seen in several weeks.  In addition, many people see vast improvements from physical therapy. A qualified physical therapist (usually specialized in treating the pelvic floor) can give you an examination, pinpoint areas of weakness or tension, and provide a customized treatment plan designed to address your muscle strength or weakness. (Need help finding a PT? Check our Specialist Locator.)

3. Medications. If behavioral modifications don’t yield the results your looking for, medications may be your next option. Most medications for bladder control work by relaxing the bladder muscles and preventing the spasms that sometimes accompany overactive bladder and incontinence. These work differently for everyone, and can sometimes produce unwanted side effects though, so talk to your doctor about your options before settling on one.

4. Advanced Therapy Options.  If medications don’t work for you, or you don’t like the side effects that they present, there are still other options. InterStim and Botox injections are two of the more advanced, yet very effective procedures available.   InterStim, also known as sacral neuromodulation, works by stimulating the nerves that control your bladder, bowel and rectum, and the muscles related to urinary and anal functions (the sacral nerves). InterStim stimulates these nerves with a mild current, which helps your bladder/bowel/rectum work as they should.  Botox, treats overactive bladder symptoms by calming the nerves that trigger the overactive bladder muscle. Both procedures are fairly simple and take about an hour to complete.

5. Surgery. For some, surgery may be an option. There are several types of surgeries that address stress urinary incontinence.  These procedures are intended to help correct a weakened pelvic floor, where the bladder neck and urethra have dropped. The most popular procedure is to use a sling, which serves as a “hammock” to support the urethra. Surgical slings may be used in both men and women who experience stress incontinence, and also women who have experienced pelvic organ prolapse. There are many types of sling procedures so be sure to talk to your doctor about your options and research what is right for you.

The most important thing to remember when exploring incontinence treatment is that you have options. Talk to your doctor about your wishes and work together to find a treatment that works for you.

Just tuning in with us this month? Check out what we've been covering over the past few weeks!

Week 1:  Accepting That You Have Incontinence

Types of Incontinence – The Break Down

Take The NAFC 8-Week Challenge

Men: Let’s Talk About Bladder Leakage

Why Incontinence Is A Condition We Need To Worry About

Week 2: What You Can Do To Manage Bladder Leaks Before You See Your Doctor

Bladder Irritants And Your Diet

Finding An Absorbent Product That Works

Top 3 Things To Look For In An Absorbent Product

Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Fight Incontinence

Incorporating Pelvic Floor Exercises Into Your General Workout Routine

Week 3: When To Seek Help

A Guide To Talking To Your Doctor About Bladder Leakage

The Doctor Guide: A Breakdown Of Different Specialties And When You Should See Them

What Is A Urologist

Questions To Ask Your PT At Your First Appointment

 

Six Things To Try Before You See Visit Your Doctor

Sarah Jenkins

6 things to try before you visit your doctor

Whether you’ve just started experiencing bladder leaks, or have been dealing with them for a while, knowing how to manage the problem can be difficult.  And even if you’ve scheduled an appointment to see your doctor, there are things you can do before speaking with him or her to start treating the problem.

This week we’re focusing on management techniques that don’t require a visit to your doctor. NAFC has a great guide on the website that will walk you through the steps of management and things to try to control bladder leaks. Check out all the steps below:

Step 1: Finding products to help you stay clean and dry

Step 2: Assess Your Condition

Step 3: Measure Your Pelvic Floor Strength

Step 4: Pelvic Floor Exercises

Step 5: Develop A Voiding Strategy

Step 6: Get Professional Help

It is possible that by performing the steps above, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate your symptoms on your own. At the very least, it will give you some good information to share with your doctor and your initial efforts will help them to get you on a course to a successful treatment plan.

Stay with us this week as we provide more tips on how to manage bladder leaks! 

Access the full guide above here, or download our printed brochure with the above tips from our Resource Center!

 

Sign Up For The NAFC 8-Week Challenge For Better Bladder Health

Sarah Jenkins

 NAFC 8-Week Challenge For Better Bladder Health

NAFC has always been a promoter of good health, which can benefit so many aspects of our lives.  We believe that even small improvements made over a series of time can make a huge difference.  That's why we've developed the NAFC 8-Week Challenge. It's a 4 part program that challenges you to make small changes that will lead to better bladder health. 

Because Incontinence can often be a side effect of an underlying condition, it can potentially say a lot about your health so it’s important to not ignore it.  And even on it's own, it's a condition that can cause embarrassment, shame and a worsened quality of life for those that are dealing with it. 

NAFC challenges you to improve your bladder health.  Choose one of our four 8-week challenges listed here and NAFC will send you tips and tricks along the way to help you succeed.  You can choose to practice keeping a bladder diary, change your diet to improve your bladder health, strengthen your pelvic floor, or talk with your doctor about incontinence. Join the hundreds of people who have already completed the challenge to improve their bladder health! 

So go ahead – take a step toward improving your bladder health by joining us, and others, in the NAFC 8-week challenge.  Completing any one of the challenges will get you that much closer to a life without leaks.

Best practices For Preparedness (laying out clothes, prepping coffee/lunch, pick-up)

Sarah Jenkins

We believe that preparedness is the key to building a solid treatment plan for your incontinence. It’s also a great way to build stability in your life in general.

Read our top ten ways you can be better prepared to handle accidents, maintain your treatment plan, and stay accountable to your health goals.

1.     Lay out your outfit for the next day. Include shoes, accessories, briefcase or purse, and an extra set of absorbency products for your car or bag. Use the downtime at night to avoid the risk of forgetting something in the morning.

2.     Set out your breakfast and lunch so you can grab and go. There’s nothing worse that forgetting your breakfast or lunch and drinking coffee to sustain you. Not only will your stomach be growling, but you’ll likely irritate your bladder without the proper balance of food and hydration.

3.     Schedule your pelvic floor workout with your regular workout. By penciling in time to exercise, you’re keeping yourself accountable to the goals you set for your body. Your pelvic floor should be no different.

4.     Put a reminder in your calendar to review your bladder diary. Pick a time of the week or day where you’ll have no distractions and can focus on reviewing your notes. Maybe you stop at the library before you go home from work, or you leave early to get your morning coffee on the way to work and review it then.

5.     Check in with a friend or mentor once a month at the same time and place every month. Finding a person to glean guidance and support from can be key to living your life as fully as possible. Maybe this person is a friend who has dealt with incontinence before, or it is a mentor who helps you manage your life holistically? Make time with that accountability partner count by adhering to the schedule you agreed on.

6.     Review your day the night before. There are a lot of things that can be challenging with incontinence. Finding the restroom in a location is at the top of our list. Review your day the night before to avoid running in circles when you really need to go.

7.     Refill your prescriptions on time. For some, medicine is a crucial part to their incontinence treatment plan. Don’t ruin the progress you’ve made in your treatment by forgetting to renew your prescription. When the pharmacy calls or emails you to renew—do it right away to avoid a lapse in your intake.

8.     Take time to breathe. One of the best ways you can prepare yourself for the unexpected is stress management. And one of the best, cheapest, and most accessible ways to manage your stress is breathing. According to an article by NPR, deep breathing is not only relaxing, it's been scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system — and maybe even the expression of genes. Take time to breathe and focus on slowing your body down so you can be prepared and strong enough to face the chaos when it comes.

9.     Have a ‘worst-case’ solution. When everything fails and all of your steps to prepare yourself for the day or for treatment fall through, have a last resort trick up your sleeve. For some, this might be taking ten minutes to go on a walk and debrief, or a change of clothes in the car. For others, a worst-case solution is taking a lunch break or coffee break early away from their desk. Designate your worst-case solution and use it when necessary. You need a place to be redeemed from the unexpected pitfalls of treatment and day-to-day life.  

10.  Imagine your perfect day. There’s a benefit to letting your mind idealize your plan because it can give you something to look forward to. Take time to imagine your perfect treatment plan and your ideal day when you’re setting goals with your doctor. Think about that ideal situation when things get stressful and chaotic so you can bring your focus back to what you can control.