In a study on how smoking affects bladder control in women, researchers found the more someone smoked, the greater their chance of stress incontinence. This phenomenon, when one factor increases by a given degree every time a related factor does as well, is a dose-response relationship. It’s a strong indicator that smoking is a direct cause of incontinence or at least closely linked to a cause.
Though we know this, how does this happen and what can you do about it to regain control? That’s the focus of this piece—read on to learn more on both fronts.
First of all, chemicals in cigarette smoke are bladder irritants. Nicotine, in particular, when it circulates through the body, causes inflammation and disrupts bladder muscle function. This makes bathrooming more unpredictable and ups your chance for an accident. When combined with other irritants, such as caffeine and citrus, your incontinence could worsen even more.
In addition, those who smoke often develop a chronic cough that further complicates urinary health. Every time you cough, you place a lot of force on your bladder and chance a leak.
Not only that, but repeated coughing wears down abdominal muscles that make up a barrier between the bladder and your other organs. As a result, your bladder experiences more pressure than normal during any kind of strenuous activity.
Though smoking affects bladder control in these ways, you have a path toward relief. Incontinence products and giving quitting another go are both vital.
First, stop the embarrassment of an accident immediately by finding an incontinence product that works well for you. Their across-the-board high capacity means you don’t need to wonder whether you’re okay to leave the house. While some people who suffer from minor leakage can make do with liners and guards, others would benefit from TotalDry Maximum pads that hold a liter or more.
While quitting smoking may not be your favorite subject, given the difficulty of loosening a chemical dependency’s hold, that doesn’t mean this time it’ll be unsuccessful. Communication with your doctor is crucial here, as is garnering support from family and friends, varying your daily routine to avoid triggers, and taking up a replacement habit. Whether it takes one try or twenty, you’ll get there, and your bladder will thank you.