Bladder control isn’t the most glamorous topic, but if it’s something you’ve been experiencing, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem that affects millions of women worldwide. Keep reading to better understand why it happens and what you can do to keep symptoms under control.

What causes incontinence?

Incontinence can happen for a number of reasons. Pregnancy and childbirth can both have a big impact. Age and menopause also play a part. This is because later in life, your body won’t be making as much estrogen, a hormone that helps keep your bladder healthy. With less of it, the urge to go becomes more frequent (and more urgent).

Are there different kinds of incontinence?

There are six types of incontinence: urge, stress, overflow, mixed, functional and reflex incontinence. Urge and stress incontinence are two of the most common.


Urge incontinence is also called overactive bladder (OAB) and seems to be linked to infections or diseases like Parkinson’s and even overconsumption of caffeine. This condition often makes your bladder feel full when it may not be.


Stress incontinence has more to do with weak pelvic muscles (a common outcome of having a baby). You may experience leaks when you sneeze, laugh or cough.


Whichever type of incontinence you may have, it’s no fun to deal with the symptoms. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to potentially make them better.


Watch your diet

There are some foods and drinks that could be making your incontinence worse. Caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol and even spicy foods are best to avoid or enjoy in moderation. Constipation can also push on your bladder, so eat foods rich in fiber to keep things moving. Lastly, water can be a big help even if it seems like the opposite would be true. Keep yourself hydrated for better bladder health overall.


Try pelvic exercises

You may not think an exercise would help, but strengthening your muscles can make a big difference in your symptoms. Try tightening your pelvic muscles (when your bladder is empty) and holding them for three to five seconds. Relax the muscles and hold them again. Repeat this process 10 times and do it three times a day for the best results. Don’t forget to breathe!


Talk with your doctor

As always, if your symptoms are severe, you may need to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Some women might need an extra boost with medication, surgery or treatments like Botox. Whatever the solution, don’t be afraid to speak up and get your symptoms under control. You deserve to live your life to the fullest!

Not a member?
Join for FREE!

Enjoy encouraging, motivating, uplifting content created just for women like you, all from the health care name you trust: Franciscan Health.