Some people welcome the colder weather with open arms as it means more warm sweaters, cozying up by the fire, and grabbing hot chocolates with the people they love. The change of season should bring excitement and anticipation for many reasons, but for 1 out of 3 women, cold weather and bladder control do not go hand-in-hand. The onset of winter reminds many of us of our challenges with bladder leaks as female incontinence worsens in the cold. Thus, it is important to learn about some important winter health tips regarding incontinence so you can stay dry in colder months.
Cold weather and bladder control do not go together, but why?
The last thing that we do in cold weather is break a sweat, right?
Women experience more incontinence in the winter because they sweat less in the cold, which leads to more urine production. This is unavoidable, but for women with incontinence, more frequent urination likely means more severe symptoms of incontinence as well. Alcohol, tea, and coffee are all staples for the winter. For some of us, the holidays involve fun alcoholic drinks. The cold weather also makes everyone want to snuggle up with a hot caffeinated beverage.
Everyone wants to enjoy the festivities that come in the winter months and warm themselves up with their favorite drink. However, be mindful that caffeine and alcohol exacerbate symptoms of incontinence, which is why leakage increases in the winter among women. Finally, studies show that colder weather makes all of our muscles tighten up, including those around the bladder. Control becomes more difficult and it becomes harder to hold your urine, which leads to increased bladder leakage. The winter months definitely pose a challenge for women with incontinence. However, there are certain ways to make managing incontinence easier.
4 Ways to stay dry in winter
Keep up with your pelvic floor exercises
Your pelvic floor muscles have a lot to overcome in colder months, so they definitely need some extra exercise. Now is the time to finally get serious about strengthening them. Ways to tone your pelvic floor include:
- Kegel Exercises: Kegel exercises are the first line of urinary incontinence treatment as they help strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles. They are highly recommended to women struggling with female incontinence and can be effective if done correctly. There are many online tutorials that can help you learn how to properly perform Kegel exercises and prepare your pelvic floor muscles for the cold.
- An External Kegel Exerciser: A Kegel exercise tool will help you to treat incontinence by helping you do your Kegels stronger and longer than ever before. To find the Kegel exercise tool that is best for you, read a comparison of kegel devices. ELITONE is different from other tools on the market, as it is an FDA-cleared urinary incontinence device that treats your incontinence externally. In just 20-minute treatment sessions, ELITONE strengthens your pelvic floor while you do your everyday tasks.
Stick to your incontinence diet guidelines
Coffee, tea, and alcohol are great in the winter, but is it really worth the extra leakage? Caffeine and alcohol are bladder irritants that likely increase the severity of female incontinence. Your bladder will thank you for opting for decaf or non-alcoholic beverages for the remainder of the season. Find a more extensive list of foods you should eat and avoid with incontinence, on our incontinence diet guidelines page.
Bundle up so you don’t tighten up!
Grab that stylish coat, your favorite turtleneck neck, and your hats and mittens! The warmer you are, the more relaxed your muscles will be and the more control you will have over your bladder. So, it is time to bundle up! Remember to dress in layers and plan for the cold, because your pelvic floor is worth it.
Empty your bladder frequently
We all urinate more in the winter because we aren’t sweating as much, so it is more important to empty your bladder frequently. Incontinence usually happens when we least expect it and when we are least prepared for it. So, before leaving the house or going on a long car ride, make it a point to empty your bladder to decrease the likelihood of experiencing leaks.