Just when I thought I had LBL beat, it showed up this morning. I was in my robe enjoying my second cup of coffee when the phone rang. I jumped up and ran to see who was calling so early. Ugh! It was a telemarketer. I felt annoyed being disturbed, and surprised by a small leak trickling down my leg. Maybe the coffee brought it on, or the pressure on my bladder from jumping up with those extra five pounds I put on over the holidays. Does the battle ever end?
Here’s the good news: We all have a fighting chance to manage LBL (and sometimes eliminate it!) But it requires action. Here are a few tactics to take on the battle and win.
FEND OFF FEAR WITH BLADDER FACTS
Fear can stop you from taking good care of yourself and doing the things you love to do. It happened to an older friend of mine. Her family invited her to spend the winter in Florida. She wanted to go, but she was scared that something was wrong. Over 30 years earlier, she had bladder surgery. Lately she was having trouble leaking when she cough, laughed or sneezed. “Could my bladder be falling down?” she wondered. I encouraged her to see a medical professional but she was afraid to find out, and too embarrassed to talk with her male doctor. I recommended my female gynecologist and with a little prodding she went. What a relief! She did not have a dropped bladder. She had weak pelvic floor muscles. She was given a strategy to manage leaks that was just right for her body (every woman’s body is different) and the doctor told her to go to Florida and have fun with her family. When you increase your knowledge about LBL, you lower fear and find solutions.
GET BACK ON TRACK
There are certain things you can do to lessen leaks. Exercises like Kegels, yoga and Tai Chi can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. But you can’t expect to build strong muscles unless you do it regularly. Certain food and drinks can aggravate the bladder for some women. Unfortunately, knowing you should limit coffee, spicy foods, and carbonated drinks is easier said than done. It’s common to start the year committed to good habits only to have them fall away. (Been there. Done that!) If that happens, don’t beat yourself up. Remember you’re human, and you’re not alone. One in three women experience LBL. After a setback, encourage yourself to start again. Reach out for support from your friends, and advice from your doctor. Keep on starting over again until you’re back on track.
PROTECT YOURSELF BUT DON’T ISOLATE
It can be terribly upsetting to leak urine in public. What will people think? The truth is most people are too busy focusing on themselves to notice that wet spot on your workout pants. The people who care about you will likely see it as nothing more than a vulnerable moment – something we all experience in one way or another. It’s your own reaction that can be the most devastating. To protect yourself from embarrassment, you might be tempted to pull back from activities you once enjoyed. Instead of taking the chance of leaking while out with friends, at the gym, or in the shopping mall, notice if you’re isolating yourself. Isolation isn’t the answer. Yes, it can be a challenge to manage leaks. You may need to modify your activity and pre-plan for leaks, but it’s worth the effort. Get up and out, and protect yourself from leaks by wearing LBL specific pads or liners (and tuck some extras in your purse – just in case.) You can also try Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports to help stop leaks before they even happen. A little protection can help you gain the freedom to stay active and enjoy all that life has to offer.
The quickest way to win the battle against LBL is to make peace with it. That means accepting that it’s happening and taking action to manage it by getting the facts and the support you need.
What about you?
Please share your tips for winning the battle against LBL.