If you suffer from incontinence (loss of bladder or bowel control), an occasion like your wedding day is the last thing you want ruined by your condition. Affectionately dubbed “the best day of your life,” keeping incontinence from messing up your wedding day is an imperative.
As 33 million Americans suffer from the condition, this is a bigger problem that we’d like to admit. Thankfully, research, technology, and remedies have seen great improvements in recent years. In this article, we look at ways to manage incontinence on your wedding day. (1)
What is incontinence?
Incontinence can strike either your bladder or your bowels, and both are a serious problem when they occur. Mainly, when people talk about incontinence, they mean the “urinary” variety, or the involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. (2)
While both men and women can suffer from it, women are disproportionately affected by incontinence because of changes to the body that occur after pregnancy and menopause. This means that women become more prone to incontinence as they age, with something like 20-30% of young women and up to 40-50% of elderly women experiencing the condition. This compares to the 3-11% of men who suffer from it. (3)
Regardless of gender, it’s an urgent matter that you, very understandably, want to keep from impacting your wedding day. With the help of the following steps, you can do exactly that.
Use incontinence underwear
Incontinence underwear has advanced rapidly in recent years, providing comfort, support, and relief from the anxiety of incontinence. The thick, absorbent pads in incontinence underwear are designed to effectively absorb liquid and moisture, reducing leakages and irritations.
With incontinence underwear, you can rest assured that you can enjoy your day without fear of an accident. Of incontinence sufferers who exercise, almost half cite work outs as a key time for leakages. As your wedding day is full of activities akin to exercise (like dancing and standing for long periods of time) this statistic is worrying. Incontinence underwear gives you the freedom to dance, socialize, and take in one of the most significant days of your life without worrying so much. (4)
Prepare with Kegel exercises
A solution like Kegel exercises needs to be planned in advance, but they could serve as a counter to experiencing the symptoms of incontinence on your wedding day. The Kegel muscles (pelvic muscles) are what control the flow of urine, and incontinence can occur when they are weakened. It generally takes weeks or months to strengthen them, and this can be achieved with the following exercises:
- Find the muscles by urinating, then stopping and starting. You will feel your pelvic floor muscles tighten and release. Doing this repeatedly is one way of strengthening them.
- Lie down with an empty bladder and hold your muscles tight for three to five seconds. Relax them for three to five seconds again, and repeat. Do this in reps of ten, three times a day. (5)
With time, you will take back control of your kegel muscles and bladder, allowing you to use the bathroom as normal on your wedding day.
Pre-wedding stress relief
Weddings are a stressful time for those who are organizing them. Considering the prevalence of stress incontinence in incontinence sufferers, some pre-wedding de-stress activities could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Some ideas include:
- Go on a date and don’t talk about wedding planning
- A romantic dinner at a restaurant
- Attending an event such as a concert or sports match
- A pre-honeymoon weekend getaway
Develop a game plan
To manage incontinence at your wedding, you’ll need to implement a strategy. Some essential components of this include:
- Identifying where the bathrooms are: If you visit the venue before the wedding, take note of where the bathrooms are so you know exactly where to go during the event.
- Have a friend help with bathroom visits: This job should be entrusted to someone you can depend on. When it’s time to use the loo, you need them to help you with your dress and to clear the way.
- Come prepared: Bring a full kit of sanitary products, replacement underwear, tissues, and even a change of outfit. Make sure that whatever happens, you are 100% prepared to deal with it in its entirety.
Consider tech options to help you on your wedding day
Like everything nowadays, people are finding tech solutions to incontinence. There are now Kegel exercisers for women where you insert them like a tampon, connect the device to your smartphone app, and it will tell you whether your exercises are being done correctly. You could explore your options in order to find a discreet way to manage your incontinence at a time when your focus should be on your union with your partner, not your bathroom habits.
While it might not be the most fun thing to think about, and certainly the subject of fewer Pinterest boards than cake decorations, making a game plan to deal with incontinence is an important part of planning for your wedding. By planning ahead and following these steps, you should be able to gain some confidence that you can enjoy your wedding without anxiety around an incontinence outbreak.
- “Urinary Incontinence Overview,” Source: https://www.nafc.org/urinary-incontinence
- “Fecal Incontinence,” Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fecal-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20351397
- “The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence,” Source https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476070/#:~:text=Prevalence%20of%20incontinence%20in%20general,%2C%2030%25%20to%2050%25
- “Exercise and incontinence,” Source: https://europepmc.org/article/med/2325968
- “Kegel Exercises – Self-Care,” Source: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000141.htm