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It happens to more of us than you might realise: you're laughing, sneezing, coughing or exercising and you notice the first signs of light leaks. Urinary incontinence is one of the tell-tale signs of a weak bladder.
Many of us, quite naturally, might prefer to keep it to ourselves if we suffer from urinary incontinence. But that means it can feel like you're all on your own if you do happen to suffer from a weak bladder. In fact, bladder sensitivity actually happens a lot, with one in three women in the UK experiencing urinary incontinence at some point in their lives.,
What's more, help is at hand — with the right advice, you can learn how to treat a weak bladder and get your confidence back. "Simple lifestyle changes can help you regain control over sensitive bladder," says Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and campaign ambassador for Always Discreet.
Here are five tips for anyone who experiencing the signs of a weak bladder for the first time.
1. It's good to talk about urinary incontinence
Getting a confidence boost starts with reassurance from someone you trust. Try talking to a close friend or female family member — with more than 12 million women in the UK having experienced the signs of a weak bladder, you'll be surprised by how many women you know who will say, "So do I!" If you’re unsure how to broach the subject, check out our tips on starting a conversation about signs of a weak bladder.
It's important to see your GP as well if you have any type of urinary incontinence. They'll have plenty of good advice and can make sure there are no underlying health problems.
2. Keep moving despite urinary incontinence
You might be tempted to put a stop to your exercise routine if all that physical effort can trigger leaks because of a weak bladder. But strengthening your core muscles can help put you back in control. So instead of cutting out your workout, swap high-impact activities that can give you a jolt for low-impact exercise like swimming or cycling. Yoga and Pilates can also help to build strength in the right places without putting an already weak bladder under too much strain.
3. Stay hydrated despite incontinence
When you first experience a weak bladder, it might seem like a good idea to cut down the amount you drink so you don't need to go to the loo so often. But not drinking enough can make things worse and lead to bladder infections. Staying well hydrated can also help to reduce odours, so keep your bladder healthy by drinking plenty of water and cranberry juice.
4. Do pelvic floor exercises to help control incontinence
With a bit of practice, you can build up the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, which help to support your bladder and give you control when you urinate. It only takes a minute or two, but learning how to exercise these muscles three times a day can dramatically reduce leaks.
5. Use dedicated urinary incontinence products
Many women make the mistake of reaching for their usual sanitary pads or panty liners when they experience the signs of a weak bladder for the first time. But a dedicated incontinence pad like Always Discreet can deal with urine leaks in ways that a period pad can't, with full-length Leakguard protection and OdourLock technology to keep you feeling fresh and dry all day.
What was the most helpful advice you received when you first had a weak bladder?
Help us to tackle the taboos by sharing your experience in the comments.