We can all appreciate that spring is on the way, especially if you’ve experienced a bitter, cold winter or more rain than you ever thought could fall from the sky. But, warmer temperatures and blossoming flowers brings with them a few friends. Dare I say, pollen? Dust mites, is that you?
In all seriousness, seasonal allergies are a real bother, especially if you feel like you have to cross your legs every time you sneeze to keep the drips and dribbles in instead of running down your leg (ugh, incontinence). Fortunately, there are a few ways to control leaks so that having seasonal allergies is as carefree as a Zyrtec commercial.
Why Leaks Peak with Allergies
Seasonal allergies, which typically start at the beginning of spring, cause coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. If you struggle with stress incontinence, then you know that coughing and sneezing often leads to drips and dribbles. One minute your minding your own business and don’t have to go at all. Then all of a sudden pollen hits your nose and you sneeze, and then you leak. Just great!
Here’s How To Fight Back
After hibernating all winter, it’s time to put away the sweaters and expose yourself to some sun. Don’t let the possibility of an unexpected leak keep you from getting some much deserved (and needed) Vitamin D.
1. Work It Out
If you’ve done some research, then you know that exercise can lead to leaks, but it can also help you if done correctly. Stress incontinence typically occurs from having a weakened pelvic floor or pelvic prolapse, so if you want to reduce leaks, you’ve got to strengthen it, right?
Kegel It Up
You can whip those pelvic floor muscles into shape by doing Kegel exercises. You know, those exercises that no one can see you doing, but have a great impact. It’s the perfect exercise to do while reading a book, watching TV, and even while talking on the phone — all allergy season long.
Lessen Leaks with Pilates
The great thing about Pilates is that it not only does wonders for your pelvic floor, but it also strengthens your core muscles. The exercises are generally low impact, so you don’t have to worry about leaks as much if you’re taking a Pilates class. With consistent practice and a stronger pelvic floor, you should be able to reduce how much you leak during a cough or sneeze. #winning.
2. Avoid Bladder Irritants
That cup of Joe may do wonders at waking you up in the morning but it also may be increasing leaks at inopportune moments throughout the day. Coffee, along with carbonated drinks, alcohol, and spicy foods all have the potential to irritate the bladder. So when you’ve got allergies, consume fewer bladder irritants to help combat those sneaky leaks.
3. Take Your Allergy Medicine
I’d love to tell you to just avoid whatever makes you sneezy, but that’s tough when it’s all around you. So, it might be time to pop a pill or two. If your allergies aren’t too bad, then you can probably get away with whatever the local pharmacist will give you over-the-counter. However, if you’re constantly coughing and sneezing, which has you repeatedly leaking, then head on over to your primary care doctor or even an allergist.
4. A Back-up Plan Never Hurt Nobody
You’ve been working out those pelvic floor muscles, have cut out bladder irritants, and you’ve even been taking your allergy meds…but you’re still a little nervous. Not to worry, my friend, because that’s what back-up plans are for.
Pads Are A Plus
Those sneak leaks are something else, but remember, you’re in charge here. We’ve been waiting to enjoy the sun for months now and a few little sneaky leaks isn’t going to stop our shine. That’s where pads come in. But I’m not talking about just any ol’ pads. I’m talking about pads made just for bladder leaks. You can carry them in your clutch and hit the town this allergy season knowing that a little sneeze isn’t going to expose a leak. (You can even try a few for free with Lily Bird).
Keep in mind that the menstrual pad in your bathroom just won’t make the cut. It’s not made to capture the fast flow of urine and absorb the scent, so invest in a product that was made to do the job you need done.
Secure The Spritz With Disposable Undies
Have you ever experienced those disrespectful back-to-back sneezes? It’s like, okay, let me catch my breath now. Could there really be that much pollen in the air? And if you’ve got leaks on top of that, then it’s like “well, there goes my social life.” So if you want to up the ante on the protection, then go with disposable underwear. Ahh choo doesn’t have to turn into Ahh Sh#& when you’ve got these sort of options.
For your backup plan during allergy season, Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear for leaky laughs and dribble dilemmas delivered right to your door. Start your free trial today.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH