A lecture hall, the theater, a ballgame: if the setting is crowded,
incontinence is a hassle. Many people avoid those events. Others get crafty in
devising their exit plans.
"People can be very strategic," says Roger Dmochowski, MD, a
urologist and director of the Vanderbilt Continence Center in Nashville, Tenn.
"It's amazing how good some people are at estimating their bladder problem.
They have a fairly good idea of the time frame they're working with. They try
to make it through the challenging period."
What you eat and drink, as well as the drugs you take, may all have an effect on incontinence symptoms. Use these two charts to learn more about the potential effects of food, drink, and medication on incontinence.
What doctors call "bladder training" is a good idea in taming urge
incontinence, says May Wakamatsu, MD, chief of Vincent Urogynecology at
Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "It means taking a toilet trip
every three to four hours on a regular basis. One caution -- don't start
emptying your bladder every hour. That just encourages overactive bladder and
Your Strategy for Handling Incontinence
Carefully select your fluids. "Many people dehydrate
themselves," Dmochowski tells WebMD. That’s never a good idea. So take a
careful look at which fluids cause problems more often. "Some have more
problems with caffeinated products or alcohol, so they avoid them or cut back
-- and that certainly can help." This includes coffee and carbonated drinks
Avoid problem foods. At dinner before the performance -- or at the
ball field -- keep meals on the mild side. Spicy and high-acid foods (like
citrus fruits and juices) can make urge incontinence worse. Go easy on them to
Map the bathrooms. In any new setting, make this your top priority.
When you buy event tickets, ask for aisle seats near a bathroom. Before taking
your seat, make a visit.
Try a tampon. Whether it's your period or not, a tampon in the vagina
puts pressure on the urethra -- which helps prevent leaks from stress
incontinence, says Vani Dandolu, MD, MPH, a urogynecologist with Temple
University School of Women in Philadelphia.
Wear a pessary. This is a round object that is worn in the vagina,
and prevents leakage. It is a nonsurgical approach to treating incontinence
related to uterine prolapse and stress incontinence. A doctor can fit you for a