Two women talking about urinary incontinence

Managing Urge Incontinence

When your body decides it has to go, you’d better find a toilet, and find one fast! For people suffering from urge incontinence, the sensation of having to urinate comes on so suddenly and so strongly that they often are barely able to hold in urine and are rarely left with enough warning to find a toilet.

Urge incontinence causes can vary, as the condition is often a symptom of a larger issue. The most common causes of urge incontinence are:

  • Bladder or urinary tract infection

  • Inflammation

  • Bladder obstruction

  • Bladder stones

However, urge incontinence in women can also be a result of oestrogen deficiency around menopause impacting collagen levels, nerve damage caused by having a C-section, or conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, diabetes, stroke, or injury. In other cases, the cause of urge incontinence in women can’t be identified. Whatever the case may be, it is important to know that you are not alone in experiencing this condition.

Urge incontinence can have a major effect on a sufferer’s quality of life. People with urge incontinence sometimes restructure their whole lives around their toilet needs, limiting their work and socialising to venues to where they are sure to be just a few steps from a loo at all times. They may even stop going out altogether. However, with a little management, this need not be the case.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep your urine from becoming concentrated and acidic. Over-acidic urine can irritate your bladder nerves and tissues, making your urge incontinence symptoms worse.

Don’t sip

Drink a small glass of water – about 175-250 ml – all at once instead of sipping throughout the day, which might create the urge to go more often.

Pelvic floor exercises

The pelvic floor is a system of muscles and ligaments that form a sort of basket to support your urinary system. Exercises for your pelvic floor – you may know them as Kegels – can strengthen the muscles enough to help overcome spasming. Just like with any physical exercise, the results are seen over time. Practice makes perfect. Keep at it and results may be right around the corner. Read about how to perfect your pelvic floor exercise routine here.

Talk about it!

Reach out to those close to you - your partner, your friend, your daughter. Having someone who cares about you and loves you for who you are, pee or no pee, on your side is very powerful. Not only is an ally good for emotional support, you gain a resource in managing urge incontinence who may be able to help navigate your unique bathroom needs.

Go down the doctor route

If you’re not seeing results from behavioural remedies, you may want to consult your doctor about your medical options for urge incontinence treatments. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so make sure that you weigh up each option and choose which is best for you and your lifestyle.

Wear protection

Wear incontinence liners, pads, or underwear if you’re worried about leaks. They absorb wetness to keep you feeling comfortable and confident. Always Discreet, for instance, makes urinary incontinence products that aren’t bulky and absorb leaks and odours within seconds, so no one even needs to know you’re wearing anything. With the right protection, you will feel empowered to confidently partake in the activities you love.