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Women speak out about the embarrassing issue of incontinence

05.10.2016 | Posted in: Advice, Allanda, Bladder Training, Incontinence Facts | Author: Colin

Women across the country have appeared in a documentary aiming to raise awareness for adult incontinence – which affects one in three women in the UK. 45 per cent of women admitted that a sensitive bladder affects their happiness and can leave them feeling embarrassed in a body they feel is older than their years.

Inspired by the stories of real women, UK film director Flora Berkeley has produced a documentary called Our Story, Life with Adult Incontinence which talks about the condition.

Urinary incontinence may be the last taboo, but it is incredibly common, especially among women who’ve gone through childbirth or menopause. However, lots of women are still uncomfortable sharing their experiences, even with trusted confidantes.

As well as talking about the condition, there are simple lifestyle changes women can try too including frequent pelvic floor exercises, drinking less caffeinated drinks and finding the right specialist products.

Research by the NCT has also revealed many women who experience incontinence issues after having a child are suffering in silence. The research revealed that a third of those who developed urinary incontinence after childbirth were embarrassed to discuss it with their partner and almost a half were uncomfortable talking about it with friends.

If the taboo can be broken, changes can be brought about that will dramatically improve the lives of thousands of women. It is hoped that speaking out about the subject will reassure women that they are not alone and that treatment is available.

Tips for living with incontinence

12.08.2016 | Posted in: Advice, Allanda, Bladder Incontinence, Bladder Training | Author: Colin

If you suffer with incontinence, there are a few self-help tips and lifestyle changes you can make that will help relieve the symptoms.

  1. Pelvic floor exercises
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Choose the right type of exercise
  4. Don’t lift heavy objects
  5. Lose weight
  6. Reduce constipation
  7. Cut back on caffeine
  8. Limit your alcohol
  9. Drink more water.
  10. Avoid spicy and acidic

To read the complete article, click here.

More awareness on overactive bladder is needed

07.12.2015 | Posted in: Advice, Bladder Training, Bladder Weakness, Incontinence Facts, OAB, Urinary Incontinence | Author: Colin

Recent research indicates that the majority of people do not know what overactive bladder (OAB) is, let alone how is can be treated.

In a recent survey carried out in in Munster, Ireland over half the people surveyed did not know what overactive bladder was and 81% avoid visiting their doctor for help with the condition when it first occurs. The research further reveals that over 15% of Irish people experience bladder weakness issues overall – making it a more common condition than diabetes, affecting more than 350,000 people in Ireland.

The new research also revealed that there is confusion over what causes the condition, with 15% of Irish people overall believing it is simply a part of getting older, 34% believing it is a normal part of ageing for women, and 54% incorrectly thinking it is the result of an enlarged prostate for men.

Commenting on the research findings, Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan, President of the Continence Foundation of Ireland and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital, said “OAB is a common problem, and whilst the incidence increases with age, it can affect young and old and men and women alike. It tends to creep up on people, and is distressing and embarrassing, having a very negative impact on a sufferer’s quality of life. It leads to low self-esteem and social isolation. Sufferers tend to seek help very late, as most are not aware how common and treatable the condition is.

“OAB occurs when the bladder muscle contracts suddenly and unexpectedly leading to severe urgency and even incontinence.

“Whilst OAB problems become more common with age, it is more common amongst young people than one would imagine. Often it is accepted as a normal part of ageing, but this should not be the case. It is important to understand this is not something that simply has to be tolerated. Once help is sought, and with the proper support, control of the bladder can be regained and the problem sorted.”

Furthermore, 65% of people in Munster do not know there are effective treatments available for OAB. “A worrying number of people are not seeking help for their OAB symptoms due to embarrassment or uncertainty. In today’s world, people prefer to turn to online sources to learn about health issues, especially bladder problems, as they feel awkward discussing this with others,” continued Dr O’Sullivan.

“Anyone with symptoms such as a sudden urge to urinate; urinating 8 or more times in 24 hours; or waking up at night more than once to urinate should speak to their GP to seek treatment. People experiencing this need to know that it’s OK to admit it, and they don’t need to feel embarrassed to talk to their GP,” she concluded.

Aside from the treatment available from GPs, people with OAB can also benefit from physiotherapy to help strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.

According to Maeve Whelan, a chartered physiotherapist in Co Dublin who specialises in pelvic floor treatment: “Most OAB treatment plans include simple lifestyle changes and bladder training techniques, as well as pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder.”

Bladder Diary Templates Available

05.07.2014 | Posted in: Advice, Bladder Diary, Bladder Training, Incontinence | Author: Colin

World Continence week may be over, but we think that the focus of the week on Bladder Diaries is worth remembering. A Bladder Diary is an important document to help your health professional diagnose the type of incontinence you are experiencing and it’s severity. We’ve now added a Bladder Diary page to our website, with information on how to complete it and templates from the International Continence Society that they produced for Bladder Diary Day. Visit our Bladder Diary Page here.

Pelvic Floor exercises effective at treating incontinence

18.09.2012 | Posted in: Advice, Allanda, Bladder Training, Incontinence, Pelvic Floor Exercises, Pelvic Floor Muscles | Author: Colin

If you are suffering with urinary incontinence, you need to look at pelvic floor exercises and bladder training.  You may have read previous articles about these exercises but if you had not taken previous research findings seriously, a July 2012 review by the American based Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) should give you more reason to start pelvic floor (otherwise know kegel) exercises.

According to the review, about 25% of young women and 44% to 57% of middle-aged and postmenopausal women experience involuntary urine loss. Their findings show that age, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, hysterectomy, and obesity put women at a higher risk of suffering from urinary incontinence.

Fortunately, there are several forms of treatment for women suffering from urinary incontinence.  An independent team of investigators analysed 889 studies and prepared a comparative effectiveness review. The AHRQ review compared different treatments for urinary incontinence that included doing pelvic floor muscle (Kegel) exercises, bladder training; using medical devices, weight loss, medications and electrical stimulation, among others.

They found that “pelvic floor muscle training, combined with bladder training is effective for treating women with urinary incontinence without the risk of side effects. The drugs for urgency incontinence showed similar effectiveness. However, with some drugs, more women discontinued treatment due to bothersome side effects.”

Two simple ways to tackle incontinence

17.08.2012 | Posted in: Advice, Bladder Training, Incontinence, Pelvic Floor Exercises, Pelvic Floor Muscles | Author: Colin

There is no reason why anyone should have to feel embarrassed about incontinence, but it continues to be a common chronic health condition that diminishes quality of life.

Many women experience urinary incontinence for the first time during or after pregnancy. The physical changes of pregnancy, along with the stresses put on the pelvic floor, can cause urine leakage with exertion, coughing or sneezing. For many women, this problem resolves within several months postpartum. However, without treatment, some women may continue to have a chronic incontinence issues for life.

There are two main types of urinary incontinence, listed below. Some women develop a mix of the two.

Stress Urinary Incontinence

Causes:
-A weak pelvic floor.
-Urethral sphincter dysfunction.

Women who have stress incontinence experience urine leakage when pressure is put on the bladder during laughing, coughing, sneezing, or with exercise.

Urge Urinary Incontinence

Causes:
-Pregnancy or pelvic surgery such as C-section.
-Injury to pelvic area.
-Diseases such as diabetes, stroke, MS or other neurological conditions.

This condition is more commonly called ”overactive bladder.” Urge incontinence occurs when there is nerve dysfunction that causes bladder contractions outside of normal urination. Women with urge incontinence find that they have episodes where they experience an extremely strong and immediate need to urinate. The bladder contractions can make it difficult to make it to a bathroom.

Treatment
The first line of treatment is to strengthen the pelvic floor to help provide greater support and control. The pelvic floor muscles play an important role throughout a woman’s life in maintaining proper alignment of the spine and support and function of the pelvic organs. The muscles of the pelvic floor span from the pubic bone to tailbone, forming a figure eight around the urethra, vagina and anus. Weak pelvic muscles result in sagging and loss of support of the pelvic organs, and can lead to incontinence problems if not corrected.

Pelvic floor exercises (sometimes called “Kegel” exercises) are a great way to strengthen these muscles and are simple to perform, but require that you first identify how to correctly contract the pelvic floor muscles. One method for locating the pelvic floor muscles is to note the area that contracts when you stop urinating. The muscles responsible for stopping urine flow are the pelvic floor muscles. You can use the urine stop-and-start test when initially learning how to locate and isolate the muscle group.

Pelvic Floor Exercises
Two or three times a day, do 5-10 repetitions of each exercise listed below. Build up to two times a day of 25-50 repetitions of each exercise. If your pelvic floor muscles fatigue quickly, do fewer repetitions each time, but increase the frequency throughout the day.

Quick Flicks:
Contract your pelvic floor muscles quickly and release.

Elevator:
Slowly contract your pelvic floor muscles (think of lifting up like an elevator moving up floors), progressively increasing your contraction, and then slowly releasing back down. You can increase the effectiveness of this exercise by holding for five seconds at the top of the contraction.

Your abdomen, buttocks, and thighs should not be tensed when doing these exercises.  Lie, sit, or stand with your legs slightly apart so you can isolate the correct area. No one will be able to tell that you are doing these exercises, so you can do them anywhere. It’s helpful to give yourself a ”cue” to do your exercises; for example, try to remind yourself to do them while brushing your teeth or driving to work. You should contract your pelvic floor muscles each time you lift something, laugh, sneeze, or cough to provide support and prevent further weakening.

Increasing pelvic floor strength is helpful for reducing stress incontinence, and the exercises can be part of the treatment for those with ”overactive bladder” or urge incontinence issues.

In addition, those with urge incontinence can improve the condition with the following bladder-retraining program:

1. When you feel a strong bladder urge, stop and stand (or preferably sit) very still.
2. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles 5-6 times to prevent leaking.
3. Relax by taking a deep breath and exhaling several times until the urge reduces.
4. Slowly walk to the bathroom. If the urge suddenly becomes strong again, go back through the steps to regain control and retrain your bladder response.

Additional treatments can range from biofeedback and behavior interventions to medications and surgery. The key for effectively treating an incontinence problem is proper diagnosis and follow-up with a healthcare provider who is trained to treat this condition.

Remember, if you suffer from incontinence, you are not alone! It is an easily solvable and common problem that you don’t need to feel ashamed of.

 

Survey shows benefit of Pelvic Floor Exercises for Urinary Incontinence

15.08.2012 | Posted in: Advice, Allanda, Bladder Training, News, Pelvic Floor Exercises, Pelvic Floor Muscles, Urinary Incontinence | Author: Colin

A July 2012 review by the American based Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) should give you more reason to start pelvic floor (otherwise known as kegel) exercises.

According to the review, about 25% of young women and 44% to 57% of middle-aged and postmenopausal women experience involuntary urine loss. Their findings show that age, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, hysterectomy, and obesity put women at a higher risk of suffering from urinary incontinence. Fortunately, there are several forms of treatment for women suffering from urinary incontinence.

An independent team of investigators analysed 889 studies and prepared a comparative effectiveness review. The AHRQ review compared different treatments for urinary incontinence that included doing pelvic floor muscle (Kegel) exercises, bladder training; using medical devices, weight loss, medications and electrical stimulation, among others.

They found that “pelvic floor muscle training, combined with bladder training is effective for treating women with urinary incontinence without the risk of side effects.  The drugs for urgency incontinence showed similar effectiveness. However, with some drugs, more women discontinued treatment due to bothersome side effects.”