There are 35 million adults in the United States who suffer from bladder problems, according to the National Association for Continence (NAFC). Bladder issues may include urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse (POP) disorders, chronic bladder infections, among many others.
If you experience bladder problems, November is your month and this is your week. During National Bladder Health Awareness Month and National Bladder Health Week (Nov. 10-14), the people at NAFC aim to bring awareness to bladder health issues and encourage people to take control of their own bladder health.
Urinary incontinence is a common and often frustrating condition that can be managed through behavioral and lifestyle changes. Below are four ways you can improve your incontinence symptoms and get better bladder control:
Pee every hour, on the hour.
Did you know that you can learn how to retrain your bladder to go when you want it to? The technique, called bladder retraining, involves going to the bathroom on a schedule that’s based on your bladder habits. You can start the schedule with one hour intervals, and then slowly work up to 2-hour and 3-hour intervals. The goal of bladder retraining is to increase your bladder’s capacity to hold urine, which in turn, reduces the amount of bathroom breaks and wetting accidents.
Researchers from the UK are currently developing a “smart diaper” that will alert caregivers when an elderly patient has soiled their adult diaper. The Sensidry System features a moisture-sensitive strip that attaches to a transmitter inside the patient’s diaper. When the diaper becomes wet, an electronic signal is sent to a receiver, which then sends a text message to the caretaker.
According to creator Avtar Chagger, the goal of Sensidry is to help patients maintain their dignity.
Urinary incontinence is diagnosed through a series of tests that are usually done at the doctor’s office. Read below to learn about these different tests and how they are conducted:
- Pad test – You will be given pre-weighed incontinence pads to wear for 24 hours. You’ll go about your day, doing the activities you usually do, while wearing the pads. You’ll store the used pads in a sealed bag and give them back to the doctor. The pads will then be weighed to determine how much urine was leaked.
- Cough stress test: This test requires you to have a full bladder. You will be asked to stand and cough vigorously, in which the doctor will observe for any urine loss.
If you’re new to urinary incontinence, you might think it’s impossible to go out and have fun, let alone fly out of the country on a long 20-hour non-stop flight, without constantly having to run to the bathroom. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning and a lot of patience, you can take long trips while staying dry.
- Wear an extra absorbent diaper with wicking capabilities and odor control. Popular options include Abena Abri-Form Briefs and Tranquility ATN.
- Use a booster pad to increase the absorbency of the brief.
- Bring extras of everything in your carry-on. “Everything” includes briefs, pads, wet wipes, underwear, pants, plastic bags, and diaper rash cream – anything you’ll need to ensure that you stay dry throughout your long flight.
- When booking your flight, get an aisle seat so that you don’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors to use the lavatory. If you are unable to choose a good seat in time, ask your neighbor if you could switch seats.