I’m nearly 40 now and have experienced in many occasions small urine leakage at night and sometimes during the day.
I can recall that my mum used to have the same problem but this happened as she turned into her 70s. Do you think this problem could be hereditary?
I’ve never talked about this to anyone and not even with my close age friends because this is obviously such an embarrassment for me!
I don’t suffer from any psychological trauma or accident so at this stage, can we call this incontinence? If it is, I can’t see myself wearing nappies like children do so would pads be possibly the best discreet alternative?
I’ve tried a couple of things such as not drinking at night – what else do you recommend?
Sorry to hear you are experiencing this.
You mention you are having urine leakage during the night. You should not be embarrassed about this, as it is surprisingly common. Millions of adults worldwide discover this at one point in their life, so you are not alone! You may be experiencing Nocturnal Enuresis, which is the experience of involuntary urination while asleep. Although the prevalence of incontinence does increase with age, it is likely that the problem could be hereditary. One such study determined that someone with parents who wet the bed has a likelihood of 77% of also becoming a bedwetter. The fact that your mother used to wet the bed may, therefore, be a huge reason why you are discovering this.
It is also possible that your mum was experiencing bedwetting due to weak pelvic floor muscles or another underlying condition. You may be experiencing bedwetting due to a health condition rather than a genetic reason. Although it can be embarrassing, it is important to visit a Doctor to find the reason why you are bedwetting and experiencing leaks throughout the day. Doctors are well informed on incontinence and will be able to offer life-changing advice. It is useful to consider which type of incontinence is causing your leaks in the day.
These are common different types of incontinence:
Stress incontinence: a condition in which you experience involuntary immission of urine when pressure on the abdomen increases, such as when coughing or jumping
Urge incontinence: in urge incontinence, you have an urgent need to go to the bathroom and may not get there in time. This can be triggered by factors such as seeing running water
Overflow incontinence: If you find you cannot fully empty your bladder, you may have overflow incontinence. This means you may dribble urine
Mixed incontinence: This means you have any two types of the condition. Many women have both stress and urge incontinence
Your GP will help you to discover the cause and confirm which kind of incontinence you have.
You do not have to wear bulky “nappy” like products. The incontinence market offers a variety of products that can maintain your dignity. As you are only experiencing light leakages, you will benefit from pads. The Tena Lady range of pads feature pads that are specially designed to fit a women’s anatomy. This means you will be provided with maximum discretion and comfort. The iD Light range of pads are another suitable option that are specially designed for light incontinence in women.
Tena Lady Maxi Night pads would be an ideal option for managing your nighttime incontinence. They provide triple protection from leaks, odour and moisture. The pads also feature Lie Down Protection for a good night’s sleep. It is ideal to use a pad with slightly more absorption during the night. If your nighttime incontinence worsens and becomes heavier, it may be ideal to switch to an all-in-one pad for extra security.
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your nighttime incontinence. One way to do this is through creating a bedwetting alarm. This is an alarm which can wake you up at timed intervals to go to the toilet every few hours, ensuring you will wake up and walk to the bathroom rather than wetting the bed. It is also important to cut down on caffeine and alcohol, which irritate the bladder. Ensure you go to the toilet just before you go to bed to make sure your bladder is completely empty before you go to sleep. You mention you have tried not drinking water at night. Although it is important to not be over-hydrated, it is important to prevent dehydration. Ensure you are drinking a healthy amount of water, however, try and drink water earlier in the night. For example, have your last drink at 8pm instead of 10pm. Your Doctor may also recommend doing pelvic floor exercises, which can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Good luck with this and feel free to ask any further questions!
Many thanks for your reply. I remember indeed that my mum used to mention pelvic floor muscles. Would you recommend any specific pelvic floor muscle exercises?
Yes, it is likely your mum was recommended pelvic floor exercises. Exercising the pelvic floor muscles helps to strengthen the muscles and reduce incontinence symptoms.
There is more than one way you can exercise the pelvic floor muscles depending on what feels the most comfortable for you. Here are some methods you can try:
1. Kegel Exercises
During Kegels, you contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Kegels are particularly useful if you experiencing stress incontinence during the day, which is leaking urine during activities such as laughing, jumping, or coughing.
You should try the following steps to practice Kegel exercises:
- Identify the right muscles. You can stop urination midstream to do this.
- Once you have found these muscles, you should contract these muscles and hold for 5 seconds. Release for 5 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times, 3 times a day for maximum impact.
Squats engage the largest muscles in the body and are very effective in improving the strength of the pelvic floor muscles.
Here are the steps neccessary to do this exercise:
- Stand in an upright position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed out.
- Bend your knees and push your hips and butt back as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Keep your chin tucked and neck neutral.
- Gradually drop further down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, whilst keeping your weight in your heels and knees bowed slightly outward.
- Straighten your legs and return to an upright position.
3. Split Tabletop
The Split Tabletop is a leg exercise that acts as the foundation of many moves in a Pilates workout. Practising this exercise activates and strengthens your hips and pelvic floor muscles.
Follow these steps to practice this exercise:
- Begin the exercise with your back on the floor and knees bent so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your shins are parallel to the floor.
- Your abs should be braced and your inner thighs should be activated, with your legs touching.
- Next, begin to slowly split your legs so each knee falls outward, reaching a comfortable position.
- Slowly raise back to the start.
- Complete 10 to 15 reps and 3 sets.
This exercise is less commonly known, however when done correctly, it is highly effective in activating the pelvic floor muscles in the process.
Simply follow these 5 stages to do the exercise effectively:
- Lie on the floor. Ensure your spine is on the ground, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your arms straight at your sides with palms facing down.
- Inhale and push through your heels, raising your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes, hamstrings, and pelvic floor. Your body, resting on your upper back and shoulders, should form a straight line down from the knees.
- Pause in this position for 1-2 seconds at the top and return to the starting position.
- Complete 10-15 reps and 2-3 sets, resting 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
It is a good idea to try all of these and decide which exercise you prefer.
Good luck with these and feel free to ask for any further advice!