Managing urinary incontinence can feel like a full-time commitment. Nutrition and lifestyle can help you manage incontinence. Read below to learn how you can modify your diet and possibly improve your incontinence.
The content provided in this article are general pieces of information, they are not meant to offer medical advice. Please consult your medical doctor or healthcare professional for specific advice related to your personal circumstances.
What is Incontinence?
Incontinence, better known as urinary incontinence, is the loss of bladder control. It can happen momentarily, and for some it can affect a significant portion of their day.
Both men and women can be affected by urinary incontinence. Our physical health, level of fitness, weight, and life stage can increase our susceptibility to experiencing incontinence.
Common groups of people that suffer from incontinence include women recovering after delivering a baby, people recovering from prostate surgery, people recovering prostate cancer treatment, and the elderly. All these groups experience incontinence related to weakening of the pelvis muscles.
People who suffer from incontinence may lose bladder control when they are laughing hard, sneezing, or coughing hard. Some of these moments can be precipitated, but often they will arise randomly. It is impossible to tell when you are going to sneeze in a day!
Products that can help
There are products available on the market today that can help manage your incontinence needs. These products can help cover your needs which may range from light leaking to a complete emptying of the bladder.
If you experience light leaks, you may consider trying washable absorbency underwear that is designed to absorb small leaks. This is an eco-friendly and comfortable choice that can be washed and reused. Be sure to refresh your underwear as soon as they are soiled.
For heavier urine loss, a more robust option would be appropriate. These products will range from reusable or disposable underwear to adult style diapers and pads. These products have been designed to be as slim and discreet as possible, to ensure you feel comfortable and unburdened.
A person’s quality of life can significantly increase when using these products properly. These products reduce the anxiety and fear of having an accident, especially in public or while traveling.
They provide users with comfort in knowing they can laugh without feeling restricted, and they do not have to worry that a sneeze will ruin their shopping trip. Using the right product will ensure you will feel confident outside of the home.
Dietary changes that can help relieve symptoms
Changes in your diet can relieve the symptoms you may be feeling from urinary incontinence.
Decreasing your intake of diuretics is a great place to start. Diuretics include all substances that increase the production of urine in the body. This will decrease the urgency to void your bladder.
Examples of diuretics include caffeine, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages (such as diet sodas). You do not necessarily have to eliminate these drinks completely from your diet, but you may want to try decreasing your intake over a couple days and see how you feel.
Timing your beverages can also be a helpful method to alleviate symptoms of needing to go to the bathroom. If possible, keep your last drink of the day well before your bedtime; at least 2 hours before sleep. This will decrease the changes of having to pee in the middle of the night and decrease the chances of bed-wetting.
Increasing fiber in your diet can help keep your bowel movements regular. This dietary change is critical, because straining while going to the bathroom will further weaken the muscles of your pelvic floor. Thus, increasing the chances of experiencing incontinence.
Fiber rich foods include whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain pastas and breads, legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.), and nuts and seeds.
There is evidence to suggest that a healthy urinary microbiome can improve urological symptoms, such as incontinence₁. Ensure your diet is rich in naturally occurring probiotics by regularly consuming naturally fermented foods. Examples of these foods include yogurts, kefir, sauerkraut products, and kombucha beverages.
A small study from Korea also observed that women who ate more carbohydrates experienced more urinary incontinence than women who ate less carbohydrates₂. Consider scaling back your intake of refined white flour-based carbohydrates and include more fiber rich choices instead. You may notice an improvement of your symptoms.
These are practical solutions that can help improve the symptoms of urinary incontinence. Making changes in your diet may result in an improvement in symptoms of urinary incontinence. Ideally, lifestyle changes combined with proper usage of urine absorbing products will result in the best outcomes.
Bio: Anna Williams is a passionate advocator for senior health and raising awareness for issues like incontinence in the young and old. She’s worked in aged health care for many years but now spends her time volunteering and freelance writing for Zorbies.
List of references:
- The Urinary Tract Microbiome in Health and Disease https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28753805/
- Nutrient intake and Urinary Incontinence in Korean Women https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28845528/
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