Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help you manage urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control). Give these bladder control tips a try:
Don't drink too much...or too little!
- Aim to get about 1500 - 2000 mL (6 to 8 cups) of fluid each day. Some people cut back on fluids because they're concerned about leakage. But reducing fluids too much (less than 5 or 6 cups or 1250 to 1500 mL per day) can actually make incontinence worse! If you take in less fluid, your body will try to save fluid by making more concentrated urine, which can irritate the bladder and aggravate incontinence. 1 In addition, the decrease in fluid intake can also cause constipation, which can worsen incontinence.
- Don't drink more than 1 cup (250 - 300 mL) of fluid at a time - this makes it harder to hold your urine. Instead, spread your fluid intake out during the day (but avoid fluids 2 to 3 hours before bedtime).
Get the right kind of fluids.
- Drink "bladder-friendly" fluids such as water, grape juice and apple juice. However, if you have urge incontinence (one of the three types of incontinence characterized by sudden urges to urinate followed by urine leakage), avoid cranberry juice, as it can make this type of incontinence worse.
- Avoid "bladder-unfriendly" fluids such as caffeine, alcohol, citrus juices, tomato juice, artificially sweetened drinks, and carbonated drinks.
Set the stage for a good night's sleep.
- Avoid fluids for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
- Don't drink caffeine in the evening.
- Go to the bathroom before going to bed.
Check your medications.
- Some medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, sleep aids, muscle relaxants, or medications for Parksinson's disease, can make some types of incontinence worse.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your medications could be affecting your bladder control.
Live a healthy lifestyle.
- Aim for a healthy weight (being overweight puts pressure on the bladder).
- Stay active.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fibre (to help prevent constipation, which can make incontinence worse).
- Quit smoking.
Sometimes urine leaks can happen even when you are managing your incontinence with bladder control tips and other treatments. Absorbent products, such as Depend pads, underwear, and briefs, are a convenient and discreet way to protect against leaks. This can help give you the confidence and peace of mind to do the things you enjoy. There are many different products available to suit your needs and lifestyle.
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