5 Ways to Manage Incontinence at Work
Incontinence affects twice as many women as men. There are 25 million adults in American dealing with incontinence, and about 75% of them are women. While common, this medical issue is a source of embarrassment for many women.
Urinary incontinence occurs when there’s an involuntary leakage of urine. When you’re in the workplace, it can be a challenge to deal with leaks. Here are five tips for managing urinary incontinence at work.
1. Make Scheduled Trips to the Bathroom
Making frequent, scheduled trips to the bathroom can help prevent leaks. These trips give you a chance to voluntarily relieve yourself before feelings of urgency come on.
Consider gradually increasing your time in between bathroom trips, so you can get through long meetings without having to take a break. Bladder training, as it’s called, can help you regain control of your bladder, but make sure that you act on any feelings of urgency to avoid accidents.
2. Pack an Emergency Kit
Accidents can and will happen occasionally, but being prepared can help put your mind at ease. If an accident happens, you have everything you need to remedy the situation.
An emergency kit should include:
- A plastic bag
- Extra pairs of underwear
- Incontinence supplies, like pads and liners
- An extra pair of clothing
You can keep your kit in your car or your office, so it’s on hand when you need it.
3. Wear the Right Clothing
What happens if you do have an accident, but you don’t have an extra pair of clothes or enough pads on hand? If minor leaking is a problem, wearing dark clothing can help you avoid embarrassment.
Dark clothing shouldn’t be the solution to your problem, but rather a safety net to help you avoid an embarrassing situation.
Black, dark blue and very dark brown work best.
Along with dark colors, you may also want to consider wearing clothes that are easy to get in and out of. In an emergency situation, you don’t want to be dealing with complicated zippers or buttons. If you can, stick to skirts with elastic bands. These are easy to pull up and down, so you can get down to business as quickly as possible.
4. Perform Pelvic Floor Exercises Throughout the Day
Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegels, can help strengthen your bladder and reduce the number of accidents you experience. The great thing about this exercise is that it can be performed anywhere.
Here’s how it works:
- Squeeze the muscles that you use when you’re trying to stop the flow of urine.
- Hold the squeeze for three seconds.
Start out with one set of 10, and work your way up to three sets.
Kegel exercises are discreet, so you can perform them at your desk or during a meeting without anyone knowing.
5. Lay Off the Coffee
For many people, it’s hard to imagine a day without coffee. But the caffeine in your favorite morning drink may be making your incontinence worse.
Caffeine can irritate the bladder, which can make urges even more intense. Even decaffeinated coffee can have this effect. If you’re having trouble with accidents, consider cutting back on coffee or eliminating it completely.