The first time you experienced light bladder leakage, you probably wondered, “What was that?” and “How do I stop it from happening again?” One in three women leak, but not everyone knows how to deal with LBL in the best possible way. It’s easy to make a few mistakes when you’re faced with something new. Luckily, the more you learn about LBL, the easier it is to manage it.
Check out these three common mistakes women make when dealing with bladder leakage, and find out what you can do instead.
Mistake 1: Create a drinking problem.
You may have heard that alcohol can irritate your bladder, increasing your odds of leaking. But did you know that drinking too much (or too little) water can also bring on LBL? Too much water leaves you with a full bladder at inconvenient times. If you don’t drink enough water, your bladder has to battle with strong concentrated urine (Spasm City!). Your bladder might also be sensitive to the amount of caffeinated, carbonated, or citrus drinks you consume.
Instead of being at the mercy of leak-inducing drinking habits, monitor your fluids. Drink enough water to keep your urine from turning that intense dark yellow, but not so much that it’s completely clear. Eliminate other beverages that bring on leaks. Then, reintroduce one at a time to see how each type affects you.
Mistake 2: Keep your doctor in the dark.
You might be thinking, “My leaks are light, and sometimes I go days or weeks without LBL. If it gets worse, then I’ll tell my doctor.” Or maybe you’ve wanted to ask a medical professional some questions, but you’re not sure what to say, and you’re worried about what the doctor will think of you. It’s not easy to start a conversation when you’re uncomfortable or embarrassed.
Instead of waiting for leaks to get worse or go away, talk to your doctor now. It’s easier to manage bladder leakage if you do something about it early. The longer you wait, the harder it is to rebuild weakened pelvic floor muscles. Since every woman’s body is different, it’s important to get advice specific to your body. There are non-surgical and non-medical options that can possibly reduce or even eliminate leaks. To help you prepare for your first conversation, read Who’s On Your Team.
Mistake 3: Cut out physical activities.
It can be terribly embarrassing to leak at the gym, on the tennis court, or while walking the dog. To avoid leaks, some women stop focusing on physical fitness. Have you given up enjoyable activities, like dancing or running around the park with your kids to steer clear of LBL?
Instead of giving up exercise, change the way you approach it. A sedentary lifestyle will eventually cause you to leak even more. Activities that strengthen your core and pelvic floor area will help reduce LBL. Try adjusting your workout – instead of high impact aerobics; choose lower impact exercises like yoga or Pilates. If you worry that someone will notice a leak, wear a protective Poise pad or liner when working out.
We all make mistakes. If you’ve made some of these, be gentle with yourself. It’s not too late to make positive changes. For any LBL problem holding you back, there are solutions. A lady in our Poise community commented on my Holiday Party Tips post about how she manages LBL when she’s away from home. She tucks an LBL emergency kit in her purse with extra pads, and a little plastic bag to put pad wrappers so she doesn’t have to leave “evidence” behind in her friend’s powder room waste basket. Sharing experiences with each other cuts the learning curve, and reminds us that we’re not alone.
What about you?
Do you have a tip to share for managing LBL?