New Year comes with a promise of hope, rejuvenation, and better things. But, unfortunately for some, a decline in physical and mental health accompanies it. For many men urinary incontinence (involuntary urine leakage) becomes a reality they have to live with. So, what better way to start this new year than to come up with resolutions for better urinary health?
Starting new health routines and regimens can be difficult, so an excellent way is to start with the simplest routines first. Here are some good habits to get into in 2022 for battling urine leakage in men.
Start Sleeping More
Sleep is essential for most body functions and helps reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and even weight gain. Adequate sleep improves the regulation of metabolism and improves overall health.
Research also shows that the lack of proper sleep can worsen bladder leakages. Simply put, poor sleep habits are bad for your bladder and can lead to repetitive midnight awakenings, can irritate the bladder muscles and cause nighttime urinary output.
Solution: Plan your sleep and eliminated electronic devices at least 30 minutes prior to bed. Make sure you receive and adequate amount of sleep, usually 7-8 hours every day, which will result in you feeling rested in the morning.
Drink More Water
Get enough water each day! Water keeps you hydrated and improves the performance of your urinary system. Getting 7 to 8 glasses of water each day is essential.
Not drinking enough water, on the other hand, concentrates urine which makes it stinkier and even more embarrassing when you have involuntary bladder leaks.
Solution: The trick is to drink enough water during the day and particularly prior to and after exercise, so as to avoid heavy concentrations of urine in your bladder. As well, be smart about the timing of fluid/water intake and do not drink anything, especially coffee or carbonated drink, a couple of hours before going to the bed.
Quit or Reduce Consumption of Cigarettes and Alcohol
Smoking and alcohol consumption is harmful to your health and may cause long-term health issues on your urinary system. There is evidence to suggest that chronic smoking leads to smoker’s cough that can put enormous pressure on the bladder worsening bladder leaks.
Solution: Quitting and/or reducing the amount of consumption may lead to better urinary health outcomes. It’s not easy to quit; talk to the doctor or seek family and family for help.
While conventional exercises can help with overall health, specific exercises like pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) can help control the impact of urine leakage in men. Doing these exercises daily can strengthen your muscles down there. It can help reduce the risk of urine leakage when you cough, sneeze, laugh or have a sudden urge to urinate.
Solution: Do Kegels daily (in three sets; 10 repetitions) by tightening your pelvic muscles, holding for 3 seconds and then relaxing for 3 seconds. Here is a link to excellent video showing you how to do Kegles properly. The good news is that Kegel exercise works for most men as they regain bladder control within 9-12 months.
Decline in Mental Health can be associated with UI
UI is associated with loneliness, which can lead to depression and or other mental health issues. So, if you are experiencing a declined in your emotional and social wellbeing seek help from our family doctor. For more information please refer to our blog titled Coping with the Emotional Tolls of Urinary Incontinence where we discuss this topic in more depth. As well, the Province of BC has the following resources available: Province of BC Support
Seek Medical Support
This one should be one of the top contenders of your New Year’s resolution for better urinary health over the age of 60. Even if you have control of bladder now, the prelevance of UI increases significantly with advancing age. Regular visits with a family doctor or a urologist can help you prepare for UI and potential detect or medical conditions associated with urinary function. .
Practice Better Bathroom Discipline
Better bathroom discipline is an accumulation of multiple habits. This includes using the bathroom when needed, taking time to urinate, emptying your bladder completely, trying to relax when urinating, urinating after sex, and properly wiping yourself afterwards. All of these habits contribute to your urinary health.
Find Good Bladder Control Products
Be selective regarding bladder control products to trial. Do your research, get recommendations from your urologist or family doctor and select a product that fits all your needs the right way.