A survey, commissioned by the Control your Choice campaign*, revealed that four in ten women had admitted they avoid certain activities for fear of accidental bladder leakage. These activities included trampolining with their children, an activity that is increasing in popularity with young families. With the May Bank Holiday and half term week upon us, many mums (and grandmas) may find themselves worrying about the impact of running around after their young children and letting leaks get in the way of a fun family day out.
So, here are some top tips for springing into action this Half Term and making sure you’re not a slave to your SUI!
1. Locate accessible toilets and take regular breaks –Whether you are heading to the park for the day, visiting a museum or embarking on a long car journey, then make sure you know where the nearest toilets are located. Knowing that you’ll be able to stop for toilet breaks as and when needed can help avoid embarrassing leaks and reduce stress about SUI.
A nationwide information campaign has been launched by #ControlyourChoice, hitting washrooms at motorway services and rail stations from May half term through to September, signposting ladies to the latest advice and information about treatment options for SUI.
2. Avoid activities that put too much pressure on your bladder – Many activities aimed at children such as trampoline parks, soft play areas and family fun runs, can put extra pressure on your bladder, resulting in occasional but embarrassing leaks. It is important to remember that these are really special times with your young family, and you don’t want to miss out on making memories with them and so for many women this is the trigger for them to seek professional help from a GP or Physiotherapist. However, if you are really worried and don’t want to miss out on all the holiday fun then be prepared and do ensure you carry a spare pair of pants and pads with you.
3. Speak to your GP about treatment options – Bulking agents are a minimally invasive treatment (which means no cutting of the patient’s tissue or skin) and are a safe and effective option which has been used for over 10 years across the NHS. Bulkamid® is a water-based gel that helps the bladder neck to close when needed to help prevent bladder leaks and has an 80% success rate when used as a first line treatment. Many patients tell their consultants they’re surprised by how quickly they are able to return to their normal routines following bladder bulking treatment and see an instant end to leaks when partaking in exercise, sneezing or even bouncing up and down on a trampoline with their kids.
4. Stay hydrated – Most women with SUI instinctively try drinking less to prevent the need to go to the toilet. However, dehydration concentrates your urine, irritating the sensitive lining of your bladder and making you feel like you need to ‘go’ more often, and alcohol and fizzy drinks can worsen the problem. Don’t cut down on the amount of fluid you drink in an attempt to avoid unwanted accidents, as you will be leaving yourself open to the dangers of dehydration and after a long day out with the family, this can be dangerous, triggering other health complications such as migraines and dizziness.
Don’t forget – You can stay hydrated with foods as well as fluids; watermelon, cucumbers, radishes and peppers are spring staples packed with water that gives your bladder a break.
5. Skip the stress – 60% of women* in the UK have admitted to experiencing an embarrassing leak when they sneeze and with high pollen levels already being reported this spring, it is important to be prepared. Make sure you pack extra pants, pads and if necessary, antihistamines but most importantly speak to your GP and find out how you can prevent SUI and make sure you are not putting a damper on the family Easter holiday.
* Fieldwork for the survey took place 1st – 4th December 2017, among 2,000 women, aged 18+