We women are masters of the checklist. Having one makes it easier to get things done, whether it’s for grocery shopping or vacation planning. Have you ever made a list to succeed at managing light bladder leakage? If not, follow along with mine to celebrate your successes and recommit in the areas that need improvement. Together we can create or update our lists for the coming year.
Before you start a new checklist, do a year-end LBL review. What do you know about LBL that you didn’t know at the beginning of the year? And what’s left to learn? Celebrate what you’ve done to make LBL less intrusive in your life. Then, add it to next year’s checklist. It’s helpful to have both a To-Do list and a Don’t list. It keeps you focused and helps you make smart choices toward achieving your goal. Though, for every DON’T, decide what you’ll DO instead. Without a replacement it’s easy to slip back into actions and behaviors that don’t work for your life with LBL. Here are two lists to get you started. Everyone’s goals/needs are different, so make adjustments and/or add to them to create lists that are just right for you.
LBL “Don’t” List
Don’t judge yourself harshly. I saw a poster that read, “Be nice to yourself … it’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” Keep this in mind and remember to give yourself the same compassion you’d give a friend.
Don’t believe you’re all alone. One in three women experience LBL. Once you start the conversation with girlfriends and family, you’ll find a circle of support.
Don’t be surprised. When going to work or having a fun night out, don’t let an unexpected leak bring things to a screeching halt. Instead, be prepared. Pack a just-in-case bag with a stash of pads and change of underwear. And consider asking your doctor to prescribe a bathroom card to gain access to private bathrooms in public places.
Don’t smoke. It’s a risk factor for bladder irritation, LBL, and urge incontinence - that strong urge to go. While kicking the habit may be a struggle, show yourself some TLC to make the transition away from smoking as smooth as possible.
Don’t give up on intimacy. If fear of leaking causes you to avoid sex, it may help to know there are things you can do to keep passion alive and enjoy intimate relationships. For ideas, read my post "LBL Doesn’t Have to Interfere with Romance."
LBL To-Do List
See your doctor. Since every woman’s body is different, getting advice specific to yours gives you the best chance of reducing or even eliminating leaks. Remember, LBL is very common (one in three women have it!), so it’s nothing new to your doctor. If you just can’t seem to start the conversation, read my post, “Does Your Doctor Know You Have LBL?"
Exercise every day. Pelvic floor strengthening exercises can dramatically reduce leaks. Even five minutes of Kegel exercise done twice a day can make a difference. They’re easy, and can be done anywhere … even while working at your desk! For exercise ideas, read my post “Improve LBL by Keeping Your Fitness Goals.”
Reject rejection. Successful women in sales see rejection this way, “If a prospect says ‘no’, I’ll just move on to the next prospect.” What if you applied the same thinking to LBL? If someone laughs, jokes, or says something insensitive, have a message ready to say to yourself like, “What he said says more about him than it does about me.”
Eat and drink right. Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and spicy foods can trigger leaks. Make more bladder-friendly choices, and it could make a big difference with your LBL. For a list of trigger foods and beverages, read "Understanding Your LBL Triggers."
Stay active. It isn’t always easy to leave home and risk an embarrassing moment. Without realizing it, you can find yourself sedentary which over time makes leakage worse. Overcome this fear and remember that LBL does not define you. For ways to cope with stress and worry, read "Stress-Reducing Strategies for Managing LBL."
What about you? What other items will you add to your checklists for the coming year?
-- Edited by MarilynSuttle at Nov 22, 2013 5:54 AM PST