Don’t Let Incontinence Ruin Your Summer
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Don’t Let Incontinence Ruin Your Summer

Urinary incontinence is one of those realities of life that many people consider to be an inevitable nuisance that happens as you age. While the aging process and the decline of physical capabilities plays a role, it’s not something that you need to accept unquestioningly, or let influence your life and decisions should it happen to you. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all Americans over the age of 65 experience some form of incontinence, either urinary or bowel incontinence, at varying degrees of intensity.  

The risk of developing an overactive bladder and urinary incontinence increases with age. For post menopausal women, this is especially true. The drop in levels of the hormone estrogen that comes along as a result of going through menopause contributes to and hastnes the tissue degeneration in the urethra and baldder. Incontinence has many potential causes as well, many of which are common among the older generations. Diabetes, stroke, certain neurological conditions, cancer, poor diet and malnutrition, urinary tract infections, pregnancy, childbirth, constipation, prostate conditions, bladder stones, and muscular degeneration can all cause urinary incontinence.  

Incontinence is certainly frustrating and a challenge at all times, but for many people dealing with it, the summer months can be particularly difficult. As the weather warms up and the available sunshine each day increases, activities and events start moving outside, and the amount of attire tends to decrease, with fewer layers and smaller articles of clothing. While answering nature’s call indoors is as easy as moving to the nearest restroom, and aids like adult diapers can be hidden under a winter coat, there are fewer opportunities to take such precautions at something like a pool party or a barbecue when you’re dressed in a bathroom or a light pair of shorts. The good news, however, is that there are steps you can take to make sure that any incontinence doesn’t interfere with and put a stop to your winter plans.  

  • Scout Restrooms Early: No matter where you’re planning an activity, whether it’s a day at the park or a weekend getaway, make sure to take a few moments at each new location to locate and identify available restrooms. Making sure to schedule regular bathroom breaks as well, for example a pit stop every two hours on a road trip, can help to avoid accidents as well.  

  • Stop Smoking: Among the many negative health effects of smoking, one of them is contributing directly to an overactive bladder. Secondhand smoke can aggravate it as well, by causing you to cough or sneeze which can cause leakage.  

  • Healthy Diet: Overweight individuals are more likely to experience incontinence. Fiber, from things like whole grains, is important for regular bowel movements, as constipation can worsen urinary incontinence. 

  • Hydrate Carefully: While the heat of summer and outdoor activity will necessitate regular and adequate hydration, it’s important to prevent overwhelming the body. Alcohol, coffee, tea, and sodas can all irritate the bladder and have a diuretic effect. Water is the ideal drink, and take frequent small sips, instead of drinking large quantities at once.