I’ve got a leaky bladder…

Elmer. July 19, 2022

These are words that you will never hear yourself say out loud. In fact, you will probably never hear anybody say them out loud. There seems to be a stigma attached to this. But nearly 50% of women over the age of 50 have this problem, so why is it still a taboo subject? Why do we feel ashamed or reluctant to talk about this?

You will know what I mean when I say that I hope I never need to cough, sneeze or laugh. I need to know precisely where I am going and I have downloaded the Great British Toilet Map (it really exists) so that I can make sure I’m not caught short.

It’s annoying and frustrating and I have been told that it is normal for somebody at my age, there is nothing that I can do, it’s a fact of life and I just have to live with it. But WHY?.

There are many reasons that we can have a leaky bladder. Some are caused by childbirth, others by our genetic makeup or by an illness, or just because of the menopause.

But rest assured, there are things that you can do to help yourself:

  1. Strengthening of the muscles using an activity such as Pilates. You don’t need to be a super athlete to do this, as it is designed to suit all ages and all abilities.
    Pilates is designed to help strengthen your core. Any exercise you do for your pelvic floor (which is where the muscles that control your ability to stop weeing are located) will be beneficial. As you get better at this and the muscles get stronger, your control over your bladder increases.
  2. Lose weight – a common problem that occurs during the menopause when fat storage increases.
    A good exercise regime with activities such as walking as well as Pilates can help to ease the symptoms. Healthy eating when done well and in conjunction with exercise is also helpful.
  3. Drink the right things – alcohol and caffeine cause your kidneys to produce more urine and this irritates your bladder, bringing about the problems that you already have.

There are some things that you can do as well with your lifestyle that will help you. I have listed some of these below :

  1. Core strengthening exercises - I cannot recommend these enough. If there is only one thing that you are going to do, then it would be to undertake a course of Pilates. You will be surprised about the difference that this can make and how quickly things can improve.
  2. Lose excess weight - the pressure that the fatty tissue causes on your bladder means that you have less control.
  3. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol
  4. Avoid lifting - a really difficult one to do, especially if your symptoms have been caused by giving birth. When you lift something or somebody it puts a strain on your pelvis, so tightening the pelvic muscles before and during the lift can help.
  5. Do the right exercises - sit ups or high intensity exercise can put pressure on your pelvic muscles and greatly increase any leaks. Replace any high impact exercise such as running or aerobics with strengthening exercises, such as Pilates.

I hope that this has been useful and gives you hope!

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