If you experience urinary incontinence, the colder months can be a nightmare. With all the coughing and sneezing that naturally follows the winter season, you may be running for the bathroom more often than usual. Here are three tips on how you can manage incontinence during the winter:
- Limit your caffeine intake.
During this time of year, many of us like to stay warm with hot cocoa and coffee. However, keep in mind that caffeine (yes, that includes chocolate!) is a bladder irritant, which can increase incontinence symptoms. This doesn’t mean you have to give up that delicious cup of hot chocolate – simply cutting back on your caffeine intake can help calm your bladder.
- Practice your kegels.
Cold air can trigger sudden urges to use the bathroom. To suppress these urges, practice Kegels, or pelvic floor exercises. These exercises help strengthen the muscles used to control urine flow. Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can make a big difference in your bladder control.
- Take care of your skin.
Our skin tends to dry out when temperatures drop. For elderly adults, it gets even worse if they are wearing an adult diaper due to incontinence. It’s important to thoroughly clean the perineal area after each diaper change to avoid skin infections. Applying a barrier cream will not only help moisturize the skin, but also form a protective layer, which will minimize skin contact with harmful urine and fecal matter. Incontinent loved ones who are bedridden or in a wheelchair should also reposition often to prevent the development of pressure sores.
Despite the onset of colds and sniffles, winter does make it easier to store incontinence products in our jackets and be more discreet. Hopefully these simple tips will help alleviate your incontinence problems. Stay warm!