When embarrassing bladder troubles stopped rugby-playing mum-of-two Claire Cartwright from taking part in the sport she loved she decided it was time to tackle the problem head on.
Forty-three-year-old Claire had suffered with bladder weakness since being a teenager but the problem worsened with the birth of her two sons and, despite months of pelvic floor exercises, began having more and more impact on her life.
She explained: “It got increasingly worse to the point where I would leak if I coughed, sneezed or made any sudden movement. I would never play with my children outside if it meant running or jumping and would never run for a bus or train. The thought of having to suffer any longer wasn’t an option for me, I wanted it sorted ASAP and surgery was my best option. For many years I accepted the problem as something that happened to some women after having children. I felt ashamed and felt it was my fault as I probably hadn’t done enough pelvic floor exercises when I was pregnant. I didn’t talk about it with anyone else but now I am sure there are many women out there having exactly the same feelings and I want to tell them there is no need to suffer in silence.
Yes it is embarrassing but I am sharing my story in the hope that other women will find the courage to talk about it and get help – I only wish I had done it years ago.”
If you suffer with incontinence, there are a few self-help tips and lifestyle changes you can make that will help relieve the symptoms.
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Stop smoking
- Choose the right type of exercise
- Don’t lift heavy objects
- Lose weight
- Reduce constipation
- Cut back on caffeine
- Limit your alcohol
- Drink more water.
- Avoid spicy and acidic
To read the complete article, click here.
Our new 24-page Living With Incontinence Guide is a free guide designed to help people, or those they care for, who are living with incontinence. Incontinence is a fact of life for millions of people and we hope the guide will bring helpful information and suggestions on how to cope with the condition while living an every day life.
The guide is packed with information including the signs and symptoms of incontinence, the types of incontinence, its causes and its treatments. It also includes information on how best to manage the condition and the support that is available.
If you would like to receive a free Living With Incontinence Guide please email us your details by clicking here.
Most women know that the menopause can bring hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and sleep problems, but it seems fewer women associate the menopause with bladder problems.
As women enter menopause the muscles and ligaments that support the pelvic floor become weaker. These tissues are sensitive to oestrogen so as oestrogen levels fall they lose their strength and elasticity. This means that even small increases in pressure such as coughing, sneezing, laughing or even running can cause leakage.
Exercising the pelvic floor can help and the good news is that it’s never too late to start. When exercising your pelvic floor you are trying to mimic the sensation that you would have if you were trying to stop weeing mid-stream.
When you have an overactive bladder, you will get very little warning of the need to empty your bladder and sometimes if you can’t get to a toilet quickly enough, you may experience a leak. What I let my patients know is that it is a very common condition experienced by women of all ages but is increasingly common in menopausal women.
Pelvic floor exercises will help and there are several lifestyle factors that can influence the condition too. If you are carrying extra weight, losing a few pounds will help. Nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks also irritate the bladder lining so cutting back on these is a good idea. It is not a good idea to cut back on your fluid intake as concentrated urine is more irritating to the bladder lining and not drinking enough can make things worse, so always aim to keep your urine the colour of straw.
Around 50% of all menopausal women experience weakening of the front wall of the vagina, a quarter have weakening of the back wall of the vagina and a fifth will have weakness at the top of the vagina. This can lead to prolapse, which can cause pressure effects on the bladder meaning you may feel the need to urinate more frequently or may feel that your bladder isn’t emptying properly.
Pelvic floor exercises will prevent the condition getting any worse but once a prolapse has developed your GP may be able to fit a pessary or there operations which can be done.
A specialist incontinence service has been recommended as a blue print for others to follow nationally. The clinic has helped 1,000 women in Cornwall since it began two years ago. Farah Lone, a Consultant Gynaecologist who set it up has won a National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) award for its impact.
More than 5 million women in the UK are affected by the problem, England’s Chief Medical Officer said.
A spokesman for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said: “Large numbers of women are affected by differing degrees of urinary incontinence and it is those with the most complex cases that are referred to the team.”
Sharon Cooper, 53, said she had surgery after her incontinence stopped her from doing her job properly at a school. “I thought it would be better to have an operation and more quality of life,” she said. “I couldn’t walk my dog before because of it and I couldn’t go out dancing with my friends.”
Dr Lone said: “There are many causes of urinary incontinence and we work closely with uro-gynaecology and colorectal experts at both Bristol and Plymouth hospitals. “Most women who need specialist surgery can now have that here in Cornwall rather than having to travel out of county.”
An ‘Easy Step Guide’ has been developed for referral to simplify the pathway for patients and regular teaching sessions with GPs have also been set up.
The work Miss Lone has developed in Cornwall through her specialism is one of a handful of similar services around the UK. She will work on the future national development of models of care and research in the field, having been appointed to the Royal College of Gynaecologists’ Scientific Advisory Committee.
A recent study suggests that elderly women who have urinary incontinence during the day are at increased risk of falls at night, if they also wet the bed.
The reason may be that women who wet the bed are frailer or in poorer physical or mental health than their peers who don’t have a bedwetting problem, researchers note in the Journal of Urology.
“The study data suggested that poorer overall physical functioning was associated with falls and that incontinence was a marker for poor physical functioning,” said Glenn Brassington, a researcher at Sonoma State University who wasn’t involved in the study.
While not surprising, the results add to a growing body of evidence supporting efforts to reduce nighttime awakening and improve patients’ ability to safely navigate from bed to bathroom and back, Brassington said by email.
“The take-home message for me is that a multi-pronged approach including medical management, strengthening, health behaviors, and creating a safe environment will reduce falls and promote independent living and quality of life of older adults – women and men,” Brassington added.
It is sometimes overlooked that children can suffer from daytime incontinence too. The most common causes of urinary incontinence in children are:
- Constipation – in about 70% of cases, children experiencing urinary incontinence are constipated. A full bowel can put added pressure on the bladder, causing leakage of urine. Relieving the constipation will often alleviate the incontinence.
- A bladder or urinary tract infection (UTI).
- “Holding it in” – a child may hold their urine during an entire school day for fear of using a public bathroom, leading to urinary voiding issues, accidents and urine leakage.
- Younger children may hold their urine until the last second when they are distracted by play or activity, resulting in an “accident”.
Being aware of these issues can help your child to develop good toilet behaviour. However, if incontinence has become a regular or chronic problem, one of the best ways to help may be to take your child to a physical therapist who specialises in pelvic health. They focus on rehabilitation of paediatric pelvic floor muscles and have great success in helping children control and overcome urinary incontinence issues.
Interestingly, a large study suggests that the odds of a child having severe daytime incontinence is 3 to 10 times greater if one or both parents had the same problem.
TENA have introduced a new product in their TENA Men range – the TENA Men Protective Shield (Level 0).
The discreet shaped Incontinence Pad for men is for very light incontinence/bladder weakness (occasional drops). It is extra thin, with a unique black design and is the most discreet product in the TENA Men range. The extra light absorbency control is ideal for security against small leaks. TENA Men Protective Shield Level 0 is specially engineered for the male anatomy, with an extra thin discreet fit. The product features a secure absorbent core that locks in drips and dribbles, keeping the user dry, fresh and confident.
Remember, we also offer more absorbent pads in the TENA Men range: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
To find out more or to purchase products in the TENA Men range, please click here.
Male patients who undergo radiation therapy for their prostate cancer can turn to practicing yoga to help reduce the adverse effects typically associated with the treatment, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.
Scientists from UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine examined the impact of Eischens yoga on prostate cancer by having 68 individuals diagnosed with the condition to participate in 75-minute yoga classes twice a week.
The researchers monitored the impact of the exercise on the prostate cancer patients through a set of questions that determined their fatigue levels, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and their overall quality of life.
The team chose to measure these factors as they are some of the side effects most often seen in men with prostate cancer.
They also made use of Eischens yoga because of its sustainability for people of different body types, fitness levels and experience.
By the end of the program, the researchers found that prostate cancer patients who were able to complete the Eischens yoga classes while receiving radiation therapy had better results in terms of their urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
The UPenn believe the positive findings could be a result of yoga’s focus on strengthening an individual’s pelvic floor muscles and improving the flow of blood. This is viewed as a way to help reduce the impact of erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.