It stands for Light Bladder Leakage, and it affects millions of women. In fact, you can expect a third of your friends to know what you're going through.
Just as no two women are alike, there's no single reason that LBL happens. Some of the most common things that lead to uninvited leaks include:
While there are several kinds of urinary incontinence, the three most common are:
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI): The involuntary loss of urine that occurs when pressure is suddenly placed on your bladder. This could happen when you cough, laugh, sneeze, exercise or lift a heavy item.
Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI): A sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by a loss of urine. With this condition, the bladder muscles squeeze at the wrong time and cause leaks.
Mixed Urinary Incontinence (MUI): When you experience both Stress and Urge Urinary Incontinence, it's called Mixed Urinary Incontinence.
A Kegel is an exercise that helps tighten pelvic floor muscles — the muscles used to stop urinating. Kegels are easy and can be done anytime, anywhere, without anyone noticing. Here's how:
Track Your Triggers
Every woman has her own triggers that can bring on leaks. Certain spicy and acidic foods (like tomatoes and citrus fruits) can aggravate the bladder, along with alcohol, carbonated and caffeinated drinks. There are other triggers, too, like chronic coughs, smoking and certain medications. To discover what may be triggering your LBL, look for patterns by tracking your food, drinks and activities.
One helpful way to reduce leaks is to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor. You can do this with yoga, Pilates, tai chi, walking and Kegels. The trick is to make sure you have the correct form — it takes practice to find and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles correctly.
We know that carrying extra pounds can weaken pelvic floor muscles and lead to LBL, so making time to exercise can help keep your weight in check. In fact, research shows that women with an average weight of about 200 pounds who lose 10 percent of their body weight can reduce leaks by 70 percent.
Talk to Your Doctor
Since every woman's body is different, getting advice specific to yours offers the best chance of reducing or even eliminating leaks. Remember, LBL is very common, so it's nothing new to your doctor. To make the conversation easier, write down and share the following things: when you leak, how often you leak, how much you leak and any triggers that cause you to leak. This will help your doctor determine the best treatments. You may want to ask if pelvic floor physical therapy is right for you as it's a non-medical, non-surgical option that's highly effective.
After an embarrassing LBL moment, it's easy to retreat from activities you once loved. But sitting on the sidelines isn't the answer. Stash your favorite Poise products in your purse, and pack a "just-in-case" bag (with underwear and pants) should a leak happen away from home. Even if you use Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports, you could still keep a few of your favorite Poise pads or liners around. These will come in handy after using Impressa for the maximum eight hours. It also helps to make a practice of emptying your bladder before doing any activities that tend to bring on a leak.
Monitor Your Fluids
When you have LBL, you may be inclined to decrease your fluid intake. But actually, to keep your bladder healthy, you should try to drink six to seven 8-oz. glasses of water a day (this could vary slightly depending on your size and physical activity level). When you drink less water, your urine becomes more concentrated and may irritate the lining of the urethra and bladder — which can cause spasms and unexpected leaks.
Listen and Learn
Marilyn keeps the LBL conversation going with her popular podcast here at Poise.com. In this episode, she talks with Physical Therapist Kristen Maike about the importance of a healthy pelvic floor and how it can impact your LBL.
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