I had the opportunity to work at a physical therapy clinic that treated pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence for 3 years. It made me appreciate how frustrating and sometimes debilitating this issue can be. Some patients stopped leaving their homes for fear of having an "accident" in public. Having two children provided the opportunity to join the many other women who deal with the problem of leaking. The term that I hear floating around now is light bladder leakage or LBL. No matter what you call it, it sucks and is quite common. The information I am providing you is from my years working as a therapist treating this diagnosis and as a client who found success in treatment.
Let's start off with the dietary focus. There are many foods that can influence the body and act as diuretics. Some we know, such as caffeine and alcohol, but others include sugar, chocolate, spicy foods, and tomatoes. It was amazing the difference I saw in my clients that would decrease their caffeine or chocolate intake. Many times, it would almost alleviate the problem without any exercise. I found this to be true when I was having leaking during exercise. I was drinking a pre-workout that had caffeine and when I stopped, my stress incontinence was cut in half. You should not underestimate how much diet change can help.
Now on to exercise. Kegel exercises have been around for a very long time, but most women are doing them incorrectly. Check out this video for the proper way to progress through a pelvic floor exercise program.
Finally, there are some other simple things to think about when it comes to how to actually urinate properly. I know you were potty-trained a very long time ago, but what if I told you that you were probably doing it all wrong! When you sit down to pee, make sure you are sitting upright yet relaxed instead of leaning forward. Don't push the urine out. You want your pelvic floor muscles to relax and allow all the urine to empty the body. Make sure and sit there until this happens. Don't act like you have something more pressing to do. Let nature take it course. One very important thing to avoid is stopping the urine midflow. This is one of the worst things you can do. It teaches the body to retain urine versus fully emptying the bladder. When should you actually go the the bathroom? Not when you don't need to go. "Everyone go to the bathroom before we leave." We've all done it, but it is not good. Again it teaches the body bad habits. Go to the bathroom only when your bladder is fairly full. This can be difficult if you are struggling with urinary frequency or urgency. You want to go the the bathroom when you have an opportunity to avoid the possible accident. I get it, but try as often as you can, especially when at home, to wait.
If you don't find success in trying these things, you should talk to your doctor about it. Sometimes the pelvic floor has fallen significantly or there are other medical issues that require additional treatment.
Anything and everything health and wellness.