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Natural Remedies To Help Prevent Incontinence In Older Age

exercise older people

Incontinence affects millions of people across the UK and although attitudes are changing, it is still considered to be somewhat of an embarrassing condition.

While people of all ages can have problems controlling their bladder or bowels, incontinence is more common in older people, especially women. This can have a real impact on your loved one’s daily lives, with some people even avoiding going out for fear of leaving the toilet.

The good news is that for most people, incontinence is a temporary hiccup and can be cured or managed, giving them more control of their everyday life.

Whilst there are a variety of treatments available, including medication in certain circumstances, there are also a range of natural remedies that can be extremely effective. In this article, we’re going to explore some of these natural remedies, and how they can help give you more confidence and peace of mind.

The Different Types & Causes Of Incontinence

Generally, incontinence can be divided into two main types – urinary and bowel (faecal) incontinence.

The first refers to the inability to control urine flow, while the second is characterised by the inability to control bowel movements. These two types of incontinence are then broken down even further to other categories, such as temporary and persistent. You can find out more about these subcategories, here.

Each type of incontinence has a range of causes that may include:

Causes of urinary incontinence:

Weak pelvic muscles

Changes to the nerves that control the bladder or pelvic floor

Overactive bladder

Enlarged prostate (men only)

Causes of bowel incontinence:

Weak bowel muscles

Changes in the nerves that control the bowel

Continued bouts of diarrhoea

Natural Remedies To Help Prevent The Symptoms

For many people with incontinence, the following lifestyle and behavioural changes are enough to relieve symptoms:

1. Exercise

Vigorous exercise can actually have a detrimental impact on incontinence, putting pressure on your pelvic floor which can increase leakage.

Try swapping high impact exercises for ones similar to pilates. This gentle method of stretching and strengthening the core is becoming much more popular and effective for stress related incontinence.

We would also recommend incorporating some daily pelvic exercises into your daily routine. These can be as simple as sitting comfortably and squeezing your pelvic muscles 10-15 times in a row. Find out more about different pelvic exercises, here.

2. Maintain A Healthy Diet & Weight

One of the most straightforward methods of treating incontinence involves making dietary changes. This can involve cutting out foods that are known to irritate the bladder and bowels, such as:

Alcohol

Artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, sugar and honey

Caffeine

Chocolate & dairy

Fizzy drinks, citrus fruits and juices

Spicy foods

Being overweight can also cause incontinence, because of the pressure that fatty tissue puts on the bladder. Often, symptoms can improve, and even completely disappear, if you try and lose weight and maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

3. Quit Smoking

In case you need another reason to quit smoking, add incontinence cure to the long list.

Coughing and nicotine have both been proven to weaken pelvic muscles and aggravate the bladder, increasing the likelihood of incontinence.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium, an important mineral for proper muscle and nerve function, has also been found to alleviate incontinence symptoms.

In some studies, supplements of magnesium were shown to improve symptoms of urinary incontinence and nocturia in over 50 percent of all female participants.

Instead of taking supplements you could try including magnesium rich foods, such as corn, potatoes, and bananas in your diet.

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