If you like to keep things au natural, you’re not the only one. A lot of us women are right there with you, trying to avoid popping pills and going under the knife. If that sounds like you, our friend Marla’s got you covered with 5 tips to help you laugh more and leak less.
Lily Bird over and out. Take it from here, Marla.
Do you sip on fountain Diet Coke or drink coffee throughout the day? Are you a fan of putting lemon in your water? Love chocolate, spicy foods or tomato-based sauces? Has running been your favorite go-to cardio, but now you’re starting to dribble?
Your favorite foods, drinks, and daily habits may be doing more harm than good when it comes to bladder leaks. The good news is small lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
Before popping a pill or considering surgery, it’s worth trying natural remedies and exercise as a first line of defense. Here are 5 natural tips to help you laugh more and leak less.
1. Get Your Daily Dose Of Kegels
The pelvic floor supports the pelvic organs; keeping it strong and lifted goes a long way in reducing stress and urge incontinence. Try incorporating Kegels into your regular exercise routine, or taking 10 minutes a day to do them in different positions. It’s one of the best things you can do to improve bladder control, reduce urges and sleep all night. Kegels also help prevent leaks as you age and can improve your sex life. Your pelvic floor needs strengthened and trained like any other muscle. That takes time, so be sure to stock up on pads and disposable underwear while you get things tightened up.
2. Avoid The Triple Whammy
Coffee, Diet Coke, and other sugary drinks often wreak the most havoc on your bladder. Caffeine, carbonation and artificial sweeteners, known as the triple whammy, are the three worst bladder irritants. Alcohol, beer and wine are culprits too.
There is no doubt that drinking six cans of soda or multiple cups of coffee throughout the day will increase your trips to the bathroom. Tea, grapefruit juice and other acidic drinks also increase urgency and frequency. Even too much water, especially gulping it or drinking too late at night, can increase bathroom visits or cause you to wake up during the night to pee.
Start paying attention to your fluid intake, particularly drinks with caffeine, carbonation, and artificial sweeteners. You’ll notice a correlation with how often you head to the bathroom. Try to have one Diet Coke a day, or limit coffee to one cup in the morning. And don’t forget the importance of proper hydration. The best way to determine hydration is by thirst level and the color of your urine. Your urine should be a light straw color.
3. What You Eat Matters
Just as food allergies have become a growing problem for many people, a variety of foods are unsuspecting bladder irritants especially for Interstitial Cystitis sufferers. Foods that are high in acid or sugar, contain artificial sweeteners, or are very spicy can irritate your bladder. That increases your trips to the bathroom. It’s good to read package labels, keep a food/drink bladder diary, and notice if something you eat or drink triggers a flare or the urge to pee.
Watch out for these:
- Caffeine: Chocolate, cough medications and over-the-counter medications
- Very acidic fruits or fruit juices: Orange, lemon, lime, mango, grapefruit, and pineapple juices
- Tomatoes: Tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, pizza, barbecue sauce, chili and other tomato-based foods
- Sugar/artificial sweeteners: Honey, fructose, sucrose, corn sweeteners, lactose and common products like Sweet ‘n’ low?
- Too much milk or milk products
4. Stop Just In Case Peeing
Whether it’s out of habit or fear, many women go to the bathroom without thinking about it. Many parents insist their children go “just in case” even when they may not have to. Just in case peeing can confuse the bladder, lead to overactive bladder, or make you feel like you always have to go. The mind really is in control. Make this your mantra: “Mind over bladder.”
5. Avoid Chronic Bearing Down
If you’re an avid exerciser, do you hit the restroom before jumping jacks or boot camp session? The marathon of childbirth can do a number on a woman’s pelvic floor, but even teenagers who participate in high-impact sports like soccer and gymnastics report incidents of leaking. It only gets worse as we age, and studies show it keeps women from playing sports or working out. Running, obesity, and chronic constipation can weaken your pelvic floor and lead to leaks. That’s why you want to minimize putting pressure on your pelvic floor, or even the up and down jarring created by running and excessive weight training. If you’re recovering from childbirth or even menopausal, it may be time to try lower-impact exercise such as yoga or walking. It’s a hidden secret that many runners wear a pessary, which goes back to tip number one. Make time to exercise your pelvic floor!
And of course Lily Bird can help you avoid pills and surgery too, with bladder leak pads delivered straight to your door. It’s quick and easy.
Have you tried any of these natural tricks to help with leaks? Tell us about it in the comments.
Marla R. Miller is a professional writer and pelvic health educator who understands of the frustrations of having an overactive bladder.