Urinary incontinence in women: learn to control your bladder

Urinary incontinence or the the loss of bladder control is a common problem. It can manifest occasionally by leaking urine when the person is coughing or sneezing or as a sudden urge to urinate that the person cannot get to a toilet in time. Urinary incontinence is a symptom that can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or physical problems and it can be diagnosed by a medical professional.

According to Mayo Clinic, certain drinks, foods and medications can act as diuretics - stimulating the bladder and increasing your volume of urine.

Urinary incontinence also may be caused by an easily treatable medical condition, such as:

(1) Urinary tract infection: Infections can irritate the bladder causing strong urges to urinate and sometimes incontinence.

(2) Constipation: The rectum is located near the bladder and shares many of the same nerves. Hard, compacted stool in the rectum causes these nerves to be overactive and increase urinary frequency....

One solution is to “educate” the pelvic floor muscles, as suggested by the Harvard Medical School in one publication.

The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles you use to hold back urination and thus are important to urinary continence. Contracting them also signals the detrusor muscle to relax, which allows the bladder to better hold the urine. You can strengthen and condition these muscles with pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels.

To perform Kegels, you first need to find your pelvic floor muscles. Pretend you’re trying to avoid passing gas while simultaneously tightening your vagina around a tampon. You should feel the contraction more in the back than the front. Don’t contract the muscles of your stomach, leg, or buttocks. Once you’ve located the pelvic floor muscles, you need to repeatedly contract and relax them. Practice both short and long contractions and releases.

Short contractions, sometimes called flicks, are quick squeezes and releases. Mastering long contractions will take more practice. Start by holding each contraction for 3–5 seconds, resting for the same number of seconds between contractions. Build up to 10-second contractions with 10 seconds of rest between contractions. Try to do 30–40 long Kegels every day, divided into groups of 10 contractions each. You may want to do 10 before getting out of bed in the morning, 10 standing after lunch, 10 in the evening while sitting, and another 10 before going to sleep....