Let's Start The conversation - Healthy Habits For A Happy Bowel And Bladder
It's important to invest in our future for all age groups as we get older our muscles lose their tone. Our bladder and bowel health is no different. Investing early is important.
In many cases, incontinence can be prevented by adopting five healthy habits:
Physical activity is beneficial for overall health - and that includes bladder and bowel function! Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. This doesn't have to be all at once. Activities like gardening, cleaning, playing with the grandkids, and taking the stairs all add up.
Fibre in your diet will help improve bowel function and avoid constipation. Fibre is found in foods such as multi-grain or whole-grain bread, cereal products, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Aim to eat two servings of fruit, five servings of vegetables and five servings of cereals and bread each day.
It's important to increase fluids when you increase fibre in your diet. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated helps maintain digestive health. Drinks that contain caffeine, cola and alcohol can irritate your bladder, so water is the best choice.
An easy way to check if you are drinking enough is to check the colour of your urine. A pale yellow colour shows you are on track. If it's darker, drink some water.
Pelvic floor exercises
Having a strong pelvic floor is your insurance against incontinence. You can train your pelvic floor anytime, anywhere, no matter what sex, gender, age or fitness level you are. Try to do your pelvic floor muscles exercises every day, three times a day. See a continence health professional to learn how.
Good toilet habits
Don't get into the habit of going to the toilet 'just in case'. If you keep emptying your bladder 'just in case' too often, then the bladder may never fill up properly, and shrink a bit. This may give the feeling of needing to go to the toilet more frequently (urge incontinence).
More than five million Australians, or one in four people aged 15 years or over, are incontinent.
Incontinence costs the nation more than $67 billion annually. It impacts self-esteem, motivation, dignity and independence, and is one of the leading reasons Australian seniors are admitted to residential aged care.