A trip to the beach is full of soaking up the sun and playing in the sand and waves. However, if you are one of the ~50% of women who experience accidental bladder leakage then you know that any day long adventure outside the house can be stressful or filled with some uncertainty.
A day at the beach is something my patients ask me for advice about frequently as the surf, sun, and sand can cause issues for those with incontinence.
Here are 3 tips to help you enjoy a day at the beach and reduce your urinary incontinence!
1. Stay hydrated with mostly water
Did you know that certain foods and fluids can irritate the bladder and cause more urgency, frequency, and leakage? Common irritants that can do this include caffeinated beverages, coffee, carbonated drinks, and citrus so consider limiting these during your beach trip.
Another common bladder irritant that can worsen bladder symptoms is concentrated urine which happens when we restrict our fluid intake whether purposefully or by accident. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day (about 1 cup every hour) and make sure you are sipping it, not chugging it!
2. Check in With Your Posture
Poor posture is associated with an increase in bladder leakage. When we slump or hunch forward, more pressure is placed on our bladder which makes our muscles have to work harder to stop leakage when we move, laugh, or sneeze.
When sitting in a beach chair, place a small rolled up towel behind your back to help you sit more upright with a normal curve in your spine. Before you cough, sneeze, or laugh, gently squeeze your knees together or cross your legs and tip your pelvis forward to help your pelvic floor muscles activate as much as possible.
When standing, remember to stand up tall finding your lower abdominals and gently drawing them in as if you are putting on a tight pair of pants.
3. Cue in to your Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor muscles are the muscles that you squeeze to hold in urine or gas when you feel the urge to go. Try to find these muscles and squeeze them prior to standing up off the sand or out of your chair, before a cough, laugh, or sneeze, and before you lunge or lean during a game of sand volleyball!
Pre-activating these muscles prior to an increase in pressure in your trunk can help fend off unwanted leaking. Squeeze like you are both holding in gas and cutting off your urine stream at the same time without holding your breath to perform a proper pelvic floor contraction (aka kegel).
If you are struggling with urinary incontinence, don’t hesitate to get help today! It is never too late to take care of this unwanted issue. Give us a call at 503-295-2585 to schedule an appointment so we can help you. We are experts in resolving incontinence and other bladder symptoms like prolapse, pelvic pain, urinary urgency and frequency, and bladder pain.