Aging can result in a multitude of health issues, including incontinence. Involuntary urinating can happen to anyone, but it is far more common in the elderly. Almost 75% of women over the age of sixty-five report suffering from incontinence. 

Problems within the urinary tract can stem from other causes than aging, such as injury or health conditions. Muscles surrounding the bladder and urethra tend to become weak with age. While there are treatments that your doctor can prescribe to help improve the issue, there are many over-the-counter products that you can use to manage mild, moderate, and even more severe incontinence symptoms. 

Here are some tips to helping manage urinary incontinence as you age and what products you can invest in to help.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

Before jumping into how to treat incontinence symptoms, it may help to understand that there are different types of incontinence. They are as follows:

  • Urge incontinence – when you feel the urge to go to the bathroom, urine immediately starts to leak, or shortly after, you feel that sensation of needing to go.
  • Stress incontinence – when your bladder is under pressure, and urine leaks out, such as when you sneeze, cough, or laugh. You can have urge and stress incontinence together.
  • Overflow incontinence – if you cannot empty fully when going to the bathroom, you find yourself leaking frequently.
  • Total incontinence – your bladder can’t store any urine, and you constantly leak or pass it.

You should talk to your doctor if you have urinary incontinence. Don’t feel embarrassed to talk about your symptoms; it can be a significant step to helping to find ways to manage your problem. Certain things, particularly for women, increase urinary incontinence, like pregnancy and vaginal birth, obesity, and aging.

Tips for Managing Incontinence

Some steps you can take to help reduce the chances of incontinence include maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Manging involuntary leakage can be challenging and affect other aspects of your life, but here are some helpful ways you can work to reduce the symptoms and help your bladder training to improve.

1. Limit Irritants

Some certain fluids and drinks will be more difficult for your bladder to process, and you must identify them. For example, certain beverages high in citrus content, alcohol, or caffeine can make bladder symptoms more prominent. Tobacco products are also irritating to the bladder lining.

2. Follow a Schedule

Retrain your bladder by keeping your fluid intake and bathroom breaks on schedule. For example, try and limit your fluid intake at nighttime. You must understand not to take in too little fluid during the day since this can irritate the bladder lining, but don’t take in too many excess fluids, which can increase the leakage.

3. Pelvic Exercises

Women have found that kegel exercises, which are pelvic floor muscles, help reduce urinary incontinence by up to 90First, ensure your bladder is empty and lay down, tightening your pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds, then relaxing. Repeat the exercises at least a few times each day for ten rounds. Within a month or two, you should feel better and have fewer symptoms.

4. Keep a Journal

Recording your fluid intake and bathroom patterns can help your doctor treat your symptoms. Consider writing down over a week what time you had fluids, when you went to the bathroom, and when you experienced incontinence. 

Products for Urinary Incontinence

Multiple products on the market can help you manage incontinence. Determining which products to use can be based on many factors, such as cost, durability, ease of use, how much urine it holds, odor control, and more.

1. Inserts, Liners, and Pads

Sanitary pads don’t work well to manage urine since they are not made to absorb it specifically. Instead, look for incontinence pads, inserts, or liners that are made to target urine leaks since they can soak up much more fluid. They also have a waterproof backing. 

Some companies make reusable cloth liners or pads held in place with waterproof bottoms, like panties or pants. However, most pads are made to be worn inside your underwear.

2. Adult Diapers

There are women’s adult incontinence diapers when leaking a lot of urine. You can get disposable or reusable ones, but be sure that they fit snug and in place. Also, they come in multiple sizes to handle different amounts of urinary leakage. 

Some diapers look more like underwear but absorb diapers, and you wouldn’t need additional pads. This is because they are designed to pull the fluid away from the skin. Other products might include cloth diapers that are washable or have a plaster cover.

3. Pessaries or Urethral Inserts

Reusable devices that you insert into your vagina for women are also available. They support your bladder, put pressure on the urethra, and prevent urine by blocking it from leaking. They can be helpful for part of your day, such as when you exercise, ensuring you don’t have an accident. 

These products come in different shapes and sizes. Pessaries come in a ring, cube, or dish and may take some time to find the right fit. Urethral inserts are more like soft balloons, and you must use a new sterile insert each time. There are also disposable vagina inserts, which are similar to tampons.

When using any of these incontinence products, you must protect your skin since skin can break down from prolonged contact with urine. Remove pads that have absorbed leaks immediately, and clean and dry your skin. You may also want to invest in a skin barrier lotion or cream.

Take Control of Your Incontinence

Don’t hesitate and contact your doctor immediately when you experience incontinence symptoms. Your doctor can help you figure out the type of incontinence you have to find more effective treatments.

Sometimes your doctor may want to undergo some testing, such as a pelvic ultrasound or some urodynamic testing. It may be necessary for these if your doctor is considering surgery to help you overcome your incontinence. You could also be prescribed medications and need to follow up with your doctor to see how well they work. 

Take control of urinary incontinence by working on preventative measures and having a discussion with your doctor. The longer you wait, the more severe it can become, so take steps to reduce and prevent incontinence today.