Avoid the Spotlight with Ways to Stop Bladder Leaks Discreetly
Bladder leaks are completely natural, especially for women experiencing menopause, pregnant, or postpartum. Understandably, however, urinary incontinence can cause lifestyle disruptions and feelings of discomfort in those who experience it regularly. With this in mind, we’ve collated some discreet and inexpensive ways to stop bladder leaks and minimize their disruption.
1. Do daily pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises can effectively reduce bladder leakage, especially in pregnant or post-partum women.
Find out more about how pelvic floor exercises work and which exercises you can do regularly to improve your ability to hold in urine. With regular practice, pelvic floor exercises usually take about three months to become effective, so it’s worth checking out how to stop bladder leaks using other methods.
2. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine irritates the bladder and can make incontinence worse. Alcohol is a diuretic, which makes you urinate more often. Cutting down on both of these common drinks can help stop bladder leaks or at least reduce them.
If you like the ritual of a coffee or a beer but want to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake, try decaffeinated coffee and alcohol-free beers.
3. Wear underwear for bladder leaks
If you’re unable to control your bladder leaks but want to avoid them becoming visible or leaking onto your clothes, try bladder leak underwear or incontinence pads.
Bladder leak underwear, like Thinx, catches leaks when they happen and soaks them up using technology similar to period underwear. Because they’re washable and reusable, they’re also perfect for eco-conscious people.
Brands like Tena and HDIS create incontinence pads and pull-on knickers. Men who tend to drip urine after urinating can use a drip collector, a small pocket of absorbent padding worn over the penis and held in place by underwear to catch drips.
All of these underwear products are completely discreet so they won’t be visible under most clothing. Many also come in discreet packaging, which reduces worry if friends or family seeing the product is a concern.
4. Take bladder leakage medication
There are several medications that you can take to reduce urinary incontinence. The most commonly used medications are mirabegron, anticholinergics, alpha blockers, and topical estrogen.
For women experiencing menopause, topical estrogen can assist with "feeling the urge to urinate more often than is needed or experiencing pain while urinating."
These medications reduce bladder leakage in various ways, including increasing the amount of urine your bladder can hold, increasing the amount of urine you can release at once, or toning tissues in the vaginal area.
The best way to use medication for urinary incontinence is in conjunction with the other preventative methods listed, such as avoiding diuretics and performing pelvic floor exercises.
5. Avoid spicy and acidic foods
Spicy foods, such as curries, or acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, can worsen bladder leakage because they irritate the lining of the bladder. Keep intake of these foods to a minimum to reduce the symptoms of bladder leakage.
6. Drink sufficient water
If you suffer from a leaky bladder, it can be tempting to try and prevent bladder leaks by drinking less water. Unfortunately, this does more long-term damage and can cause health issues like dehydration, constipation, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.
The less liquid you consume, the smaller your bladder’s capacity will become, which worsens bladder leakage. Instead of avoiding water, avoid caffeinated and fizzy drinks, and stick to at least six glasses of water per day.
7. Surgical procedures
If your bladder leakage becomes so severe that it causes serious mental health problems with medical issues behind it, you can consider surgical procedures.
Surgery can enlarge the bladder, reduce pressure on the bladder, or strengthen the muscles that control urination.
For some people, bladder incontinence is related to anxiety or OCD. While some people with bladder leakage may not have a weak bladder, they may feel an overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom based on obsessive thoughts or other psychological factors.
If your bladder leakage is related to anxiety, thought patterns, or other mental health issues, it’s best to see a trained therapist with experience. Certain types of therapy, such as CBT, can help to break the thought patterns associated with bladder leakage.
The bottom line
If a leaky bladder affects your life, it’s worth seeking further advice from a medical professional about your options to stop leaking bladder.
Look out for leaky bladder warning signs such as the uncontrollable urge to urinate, coughing or laughing fits, and make sure you’re near a bathroom or have incontinence products on hand at all times.