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Manage your bladder weakness while at work


Regular toilet breaks can really interrupt your working day. Whether you’re on a call or fully immersed in something complicated, bladder weakness can be an inconvenience you can do without. However, there is a lot we can do to meet the challenges we face, whether working from home or in an office. Read on for some useful hints to see you through the 9-5.

Old business man walking on the phone

Caffeine intake

Many of us spend our working days making cups of tea or coffee to keep us going, or to take a break. However, caffeine increases bladder activity and it might be a good idea to find an alternative drink. Rather than cut caffeine out completely straight away, try and ease yourself off it.


Toilet visit

When we’re fully immersed in our work - whether at home or in the office - we can push aside our need to empty our bladders under the pretext of “I’ll just finish this last point”.  But we all need to go at some point.

There are also ways you can train your bladder to cut down on toilet visits:

 

● Double voiding: simply wait a few seconds after urinating, then go again. This gives the bladder more chance to empty further.

● Delayed voiding: this is where you wait a short while before going to the loo, even if you feel the need. Increase this delay a little at a time. 

● Timed voiding: this involves a toilet timetable when you go at set points during the day rather than waiting for the urge to go. The aim is to remove the urgency of the need.

Always discuss these options with your doctor first, as they may not be suitable for everyone.


Fluid intake

It’s easy to just gulp down our tea, water and juice when it’s there, but try and slow down your fluid intake. Staying hydrated does not mean filling up to the brim with liquid. Instead, take small sips throughout the day.


Diet

As with caffeine, there are certain foods that will make your incontinence problems worse. Examples of these include:

● Spicy food

● Food containing tomatoes

● Fizzy drinks

● Dairy products

● Sugar / honey

● Artificial sweeteners

● Citrus fruit and juices


It’s not all about avoidance and some good foods to focus on are:

● Non-citrus fruit

● Vegetables

● Foods high in protein

● Fibre, such as grains, brown rice and pulses


I've got to go now...

There are work situations where we find ourselves in a position where we can’t easily slip out to a loo. Long phone calls/video chats, being in a meeting, or visiting a location somewhere out of the office: we’ve all been there.
 
 

If you’re working off-site

 
 
● Plan your journey to your destination as best you can by identifying service stations and toilets on the way. Stop for loo breaks even if you don’t feel the need to keep your bladder as empty as possible.
 
● If incontinence is a more severe problem, travel wearing some protection. Before arriving at your destination, change into a fresh pad. Bring a supply of pads too, just in case.
 
● For a worst case scenario, bring a change of clothing, and wipes. It’s always better to be fully prepared.
 
● Minimise your fluid intake before the journey. Keep it steady but limited.
 
● Go to the loo on arrival, and don't be afraid to ask to go during the day if you can. 
 
● If necessary, and only if you are comfortable doing so, confide in your boss or whoever is in charge on the day. This will alleviate any additional stress.
 
 

On a long call?

 
 
Many of the points above also apply to calls and meetings, such as voiding your bladder immediately before and minimising your fluid intake. There are other step you can take:
 
 
● If you’re in a meeting room, sit as close to the door as possible so you can slip out with minimum disruption if needed.
 
● Try and relax. Stress increases the urge to go, so maintain a sense of calm.
 
● Carry out your pelvic floor, or Kegel, exercises while you are seated. No one will know you are doing them.
 
 
Planning is key to handling these situations. In the end, people will be accommodating if you need to go, and if you ask to leave a meeting to go to the loo you may well find you’re not the only one.

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