What simple measures are available to treat urinary incontinence?

The average fluid intake in a day is four pints; this is e quivalent to about 10 cups. Drinking less puts a strain on the kidneys and drinking more may unnecessarily increase the risks of incontinence. In warmer or hotter climates than the United Kingdom, your fluid intake should be increased.

Excess weight with a large abdominal girth will stretch and damage the pelvic floor. Calorie control and increasing exercise should help. Lifting heavy objects should be avoided. Tight clothes and support girdles should be discarded.

Straining associated with increasing the abdominal muscle activity pushes the abdominal contents firmly down against the pelvic floor muscles. Stretching these muscles decreases their function and the nerve supply to them may also be damaged. A chronic cough is to be avoided. For smokers, the advice is obvious stop! Similarly, constipation requiring straining to empty the bowel should be avoided. Increasing the fibre content of your diet may be all that is necessary. Vegetables, fruit and wholemeal bread may be enough, but cereals particularly with bran in the morning may also be considered.

For postmenopausal women, hormone replacement therapy HRT (HRT-hormone-replacement-therapy) may provide benefit. Some women already taking HRT find that when they also introduce oestrogen locally into the vagina, there is further improvement in bladder symptoms.

The use of pessaries to treat urinary incontinence is becoming popular again.

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