Do you need to cross your legs every time you sneeze?
It’s not a special lucky charm, it’s a necessity if you are one of many suffering from a leaky bladder.
Coughing and heavy lifting may also be a problem too, and you wouldn’t even consider jumping for joy, as there would be no joy in the resulting leakage.
Urinary incontinence can be a symptom of being overweight, or following pregnancy, but it is especially common for those later in life; both males and females.
In fact, half of Australians with incontinence are over the age of 50.
Increased time sitting or slumping at a desk or on the couch at home, and a more sedentary lifestyle all lead to less use of your pelvic floor, thus it loses its condition.
Lower levels of oestrogen when women reach Menopause are also a contributor, but so are health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart conditions, respiratory conditions and prostrate problems, as well as some medications, constipation and urinary tract infections.
The pelvic floor not only helps with bladder control but also posture and a flat stomach.
When the muscles become weaker that can not only cause continence but also aches and pains in that area.
So how to you deal with the problem?
There are a large range of incontinence products available on the market, such as sanitary pads and underwear, but there are also some heath options that may help prevent, ease or eliminate the problem too.
Losing weight is one way to start. Carrying extra kilos can put pressure on your bladder and make the problem worse.
Eat a healthy diet and drink well. Drinking less with the idea of it stopping you going to the toilet too much may instead concentrate your urine and make the problem worse.
Some products can also make things worse, so avoid caffeine, alcohol, soft drinks, honey and spicy food.
Adopt good toilet habits. Go when you need to, not ‘just in case’ and get into the correct sitting position. This can mean elbows on knees, leaning forward and supporting your feet with a footstool.
Kegel exercises can help, for both men and women. To put it simply, they are clench-and-release exercises to make the muscles of your pelvic floor stronger. You can do them anywhere, at any time.
Pilates and other toning exercise helps too.
It is, however, important not to just dismiss the symptoms.
A spokesperson from Continence Foundation of Australia said symptoms won’t go away on their own and may worsen over time so it was important to seek help
“For further information speak to your doctor or a continence nurse advisor on the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66,” the spokesperson said.