Incontinence affects millions of people across the UK, regardless of age or gender. Often considered as something that affects the elderly (between 11 – 34% of older men live with incontinence), it can also affect the young, with 2 -3% of teenagers living with incontinence.
Several factors can contribute to incontinence, such as age, disability and illnesses. Meanwhile, operations for prostate cancer can lead to incontinence, and around 25% of women experience urinary incontinence following childbirth.
Because of this, daily life can be tricky at times, which makes managing incontinence at work a big issue for many individuals.
Tips on Managing Incontinence at Work
While working and living with incontinence may feel like a constant struggle, there are several ways to help when it comes to dealing with incontinence at work. We’ve outlined several below.
Train your muscles
The first thing you can do is try and retrain your pelvic floor muscles, which can help if you suffer from stress incontinence. The most effective is Kegel exercises. This is where you contract and relax the muscles that support your bladder. These can be done discreetly wherever you are. Another way to train your muscles is yoga. A study found that those partaking in a yoga program, designed to help improve pelvic health, can reduce urine leakage by 70%.
Train your mind
While this won’t work for everyone, try to put yourself on a timed program, where you go to the toilet at set times. This way you’ll be going to the bathroom by the clock and not by urge, helping to give you a sense of control over the situation. You should try and schedule a bathroom break every two hours rather than three to four.
Watch your caffeine
Much like alcohol and carbonated drinks, caffeine is a known bladder irritant. The reason for this is that caffeine, found in coffee and tea, is a diuretic, which can increase your chances of having an accident. Therefore, try and avoid coffee and tea, or at least limit it to one to start your day. However, this doesn’t mean you should skip liquids altogether.
The right amount of liquid
Getting the right amount of liquid into your day-to-day life is paramount, even if you’re living with incontinence. While it may be tempting to cut back on fluids as much as possible to prevent your bladder from filling up, this can have an adverse effect as it can irritate your bladder. However, you’ll need to ensure you’re not drinking too much and should try and limit yourself to three or four glasses of water while at work.
Wear dark clothing
Because darker clothing doesn’t show leaks, you’ll be able to hide any accidents that may occur a little easier.
Wear easy clothing
Curate your work wardrobe based around easy access. This means you’ll be able to get clothing on and off much quicker if you’re in a hurry while feeling more comfortable when wearing any incontinence products.
Always be prepared
From your car to your bag or locker, making sure you’re always prepared for any accidents is the most important thing when dealing with incontinence at work. Make sure you always have pads and other incontinence products you require with you at all times, alongside clean underwear and clothing. Aside from this, wipes and foams will also come in handy for helping to ensure your skin is clean, smell free and doesn’t become irritated.
It can be easy to get caught up in your work. However, if you’re taking medication for your incontinence you mustn’t miss it, as these only work when taken as directed. Try setting a reminder on your computer or smartphone so you don’t forget.
Relax and stay calm
If you do get the sudden urge to go to the toilet, it’s important to remain calm. Try taking a deep breath at first and if the urge doesn’t pass, make your way to the toilet calmly. It’s important not to run, as running can make it harder to control your bladder.
Talk to your boss
If you’re finding it hard to manage incontinence and your work, try talking to a more senior member of staff. This will allow you to discuss the situation at hand and make your specific needs and requirements more apparent.
For those with questions about managing incontinence at work, or our products, please get in touch.
You can do this by calling us on 01204 895410 between 9 am and 5 pm Monday – Friday and one of our members of staff will be more than happy to help. Alternatively, you can use the enquiry form here, and someone will get back to you within 24-hours.