Incontinence is a condition a person rarely considers unless they suffer from it. However, it consumes those who must live within its clutches every day.
For sufferers, it can severely decrease their quality of life, filling it with fear and anxiety. The condition makes even the simplest daily activities like going to work, running errands, and having a social life become very daunting challenges.
It’s estimated 32 million Americans suffer from incontinence. There are varying degrees, but each involves the uncontrolled or frequent loss of urine or feces.
One type of incontinence is called “urge incontinence.” The term signifies an overactive bladder resulting in sudden urges to urinate before the bladder is full. The condition involves a communication breakdown between muscles, nerves, and brain response.
For example, a person without incontinence knows it’s time to go to the bathroom when their bladder is full. They feel pressure and the muscles tighten to hold it in. The brain computes this and when they arrive at the toilet, the muscles release and the bladder is emptied.
People with incontinence don’t have the same fluid process. They feel a full bladder before it’s full and are unable to control the muscles holding it in. There is, however, a way to beat urge incontinence naturally, and that’s by working on a bladder control training program.
Start your training program by tracking how many times you go to the bathroom or leak urine over two or three days. In addition to tracking how many occurrences there are, pay attention to the amount of time between each one.
Based on the length of time between trips to the bathroom, create an interval period. For example, if you notice the urge to go to the bathroom every 45 minutes, add 15 minutes to that interval so you end up waiting an hour between trips.
On the day you begin your training program, wake up and immediately empty your bladder. Wait an hour before you go again and continue to follow this interval program. Make sure you hold it until an hour has passed and if you feel an overwhelming urge, try delay tactics. Remember that your bladder is not actually full and you don’t have to go, so keep holding it. Perhaps go for a walk or slowly walk to the bathroom. On the other hand, if you don’t have the urge by your interval time, go anyways.
Once you’ve adapted to your interval period—and it could take weeks or months—increase it by another 15 minutes and record the progress. Over time, you’ll hopefully realize you’ve been able to control your bladder and feel less of an urge to go before it’s full.
Bladder control training programs have proven to work and are recommended by most doctors as the first step to treat urge incontinence. Remember you may want to curb liquid consumption, but first see if you can manage without making any dietary changes. This is a problem you don’t have to live with and may be able to beat all on your own.
“Bladder Control Training for Urinary Incontinence,” Harvard Medical School web site, August 2004; http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Bladder_control_training_for_urinary_incontinence.htm, last accessed February 25, 2014.