Don’t let the fear of bladder accidents ever keep you from an active life filled with work, friends, and family. Incontinence isn’t a normal part of aging, or something you just have to live with. There are plenty of things you can do. The sooner you call your doctor, the faster you can get treated.
It’s not easy to talk about incontinence. That’s why men wait, on average, three years before they get help. Take the first step and call your doctor. He might refer you to a specialist who treats urinary conditions. At your first visit, ask if your diet, health problems, or medicine could be causing the problem.
Before your doctors can treat your incontinence, they need to know what kind it is. If you release urine when you cough, laugh, or sneeze, that’s likely stress incontinence. If you have a sudden need to go before leakage happens, that’s probably urge incontinence. Some people have a combination of the two.
Your doctor will examine you and ask about your health, symptoms, medicines you take, and the type of accidents you have. He or she might suggest you keep a diary to record every time you go to the bathroom or have wetness.
Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and rule out any medical conditions and may order tests to check for infections or other problems, as well as a bladder stress test.
There are things you can do to try and control your incontinence. These include scheduling your bathroom visits at regular intervals — for instance, every 2 hours. If you have to go before the time is up, use Kegels or relaxation techniques to hold it in until the urge passes. After a while, hopefully you’ll train yourself to go less often, with longer and longer periods between restroom breaks.
These few routine changes can help prevent leaks and get you back to your favorite activities. However, don’t stop drinking fluids — you’ll get dehydrated. Limit each drink to 6 to 8 ounces, and don’t have them within 2 to 4 hours of bedtime.
Also, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners, which increase the urge to go. If you’re overweight, drop a few pounds to ease pressure on your bladder. And don’t smoke. It’s bad for your bladder, too.
What if after all of this you’re still experiencing incontinence?
Where women may not yet have the choice and must resort to absorbents, men have a choice: absorbents or catheters (both internal and external). For ease of use and the freedom it provides, we of course suggest Men’s Liberty. BioDerm provides an excellent training program for application and use of the product. Another benefit is that Medicare helps pay for the Men’s Liberty external catheters; Medicare does not pay for diapers or absorbents that you purchase from your local drugstore.