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Here a leak there a leak, everywhere a leak leak

Light bladder leakage is a problem for one-third of women. Here's what's happening and what you can do about it.

By Amber McKenna, Emerita, on Oct 11, 2011

A sneeze, a laugh, a quick movement…each could cause a big problem without warning. A leak, a spritz, an unwelcome surprise. We’re talking about light incontinence.

It's something millions of women deal with every day. In fact, it's something than an estimated 1 in 3 women will experience. It happens to elderly women and young women, women who have given birth and women who haven’t, postmenopausal women and pre-menopausal women, and men too. However, women who are postmenopausal, smokers, have had children, have had any kind of pelvic surgery or are pregnant are more likely to experience this. Almost half of women who have had children struggle with incontinence by the age of 40.

What is incontinence?

There are a few different bladder issues women suffer from, such as from an overactive bladder, which is the sudden urge to urinate, and loss of bladder control.
Incontinence is defined as the involuntary leakage of urine. Stress Incontinence, which means you leak as a result of physical exertion, is the most common type of incontinence.

When will I leak?

There can be different triggers. These can include the sound or feel of rushing water or a physical exertion such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting or any other activity involving movement. Stress can also make it worse for some.

To understand your own situation, notice when incontinence happens for you and try to identify the possible triggers. Keep track of your intake of all liquids (soda, tea, coffee, water). Are you drinking liquids excessively because you’re thirsty? This could be a sign you have a medical condition that affects your bladder.
Keep track of when you’re leaking and what situation you’re in when you leak. This information will be important to have when you speak with your healthcare practitioner.

Be prepared

Today, there is no need to let mild incontinence get in the way of your daily life. There are a few things you can do to keep you living, working and enjoying daily life without a second thought.

From pads and liners to protective underwear, you can stay protected from leaks and not be uncomfortable in public.

For minor incontinence, try our 100% Natural Cotton Pantyliners and 100% Natural Cotton Pads. Not only are they protection against leakage, you can rest assured knowing that only 100% Natural Cotton is next to your skin. Using pads and pantyliners with a 100% Natural Cotton coversheet and core means there is less risk of irritation. Cotton is naturally absorbent and fluffy, and your vagina likes proper airflow to be at its healthy best.

Exercise your muscles

Though they won’t solve everything, practicing Kegel exercises can help you be in better control of your bladder. What’s a Kegel exercise? Developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940s, these exercises are specifically designed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

You can start by locating your Kegel muscles. To do this, squeeze the same muscles you use to stop urination midstream. You will feel your vagina tighten as your pelvic floor moves upward. Relax your muscles. However, don’t practice Kegels during urination or with a full bladder, as this can actually weaken the muscles.

You can do these exercises while driving, cooking, lying on the couch, or sitting at your desk. Contract the Kegel muscles for five to ten seconds and then relax for the same amount of time. Repeat this five to ten times, three times each day.

Make sure you’re focusing on contracting only your pelvic floor muscles and not the butt or thighs. Also, remember to breathe steadily.

Watch your intake

Many women have bladder control issues due to drinking too much liquid in a day. Try drinking no more than 64 ounces of water a day to start. Also, attempt to cut off water intake at least three hours before going to bed. Alcoholic and caffinated beverages might exacerbate incontinence issues, so be mindful of your take of those types of liquids, too. Doctors recommend going to the bathroom every few hours during the day—even if you don’t feel the urge—to get your body on track.

And remember

If minor incontinence is happening to you, you're not alone. While, it's not something that women tend to talk about, you're in good company. And, fortunately, there are things you can do about it. There's power in knowledge.