As a prenatal and postnatal fitness coach, I’m not shy about talking to my clients about things like incontinence.
It is pretty common, especially in the postnatal and older populations, to have issues with the bladder and pelvic floor like incontinence and prolapse, but it is certainly not normal! Some incontinence is anticipated post-birth, but it shouldn’t be accepted after you’ve reached a couple of months postpartum.
Here are 5 tips that are great for anyone who has a bladder and pelvic floor! That includes men 😉
1. Stay Hydrated
There can’t be enough said about drinking plenty of H2O!
I find a lot of my clients that may have incontinence cut back on drinking so they won’t leak as much. This will cause your urine to be more concentrated with toxins and irritate your bladder leading to more problems like infection.
Also, without adequate fluids you’re more likely to become constipated leading to pushing that can cause pelvic organ prolapse.
Hint: Try to spread your water intake out throughout the day rather than drinking a lot all at once which will cause urgency.
2. Don’t Hover Over The Toilet!
When you hover over the toilet you activate your pelvic floor at a time when it should be relaxed and your bladder may not empty completely.
The muscle tension from pelvic floor, hips, buttocks, and thigh activation makes it harder to pee so you may need to push and bear down similarly to when your constipated. It’s also a hard position to stay in for long so you may push more to hurry things along.
I do make the occasional exception when challenged with a disgusting port-o-potty. Just don’t make it a habit!
3. Stop Going “Just in Case”
You were probably forced to go before bed or a long car trip when you were a child. When practiced often it can lead to your bladder holding a smaller capacity and lead to overactive bladder.
Hint: Limit drinks before bed or when you’re gonna hit the road! You shouldn’t need to get up more than once a night, if at all.
4. Limit Irritants Like Alcohol and Caffeine
Practice moderation with drinks that will irritate the bladder and lead to infection.
Since they are diuretics they’ll also cause your bladder to fill up quickly and cause urgency. Make sure you stay well hydrated or it can lead to constipation and more bearing down. See #1!
5. Blow Before You Go!
Before you do any heavy lifting or pulling, breathe in and then exert force on your exhale when your diaphragm and pelvic floor naturally lift up. If you have bladder symptoms or pelvic floor dysfunction be sure to keep your resistance to a minimum.
Hint: For extra support engage your pelvic floor when you experience downward pressure. Not only during resistance training, but also when you cough and sneeze!
I touch on these tips in my postnatal fitness sessions geared toward new moms, “Pelvic Floor and Core Restore”.
It’s important, however, if you have signs of dysfunction to seek help from a pelvic floor physical therapist.