Drink Up to Manage Incontinence
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When it comes to our wellbeing, most of us think carefully about the food choices we make each day. But how often do you consider the beverage choices you make? Better bladder control requires making smart choices over what, when and how much you drink.
What You Drink MattersYou reach for a cup of coffee to jumpstart your morning, order tea or soft drinks with lunch, and enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer with dinner. All these beverage choices can make your bladder control symptoms worse.
The caffeine in coffee, tea and soda acts as a diuretic, causing your kidneys to produce more fluids. Alcoholic beverages have the same effect. Additionally, caffeine and carbonated drinks can further irritate the bladder making it harder to control your bladder.
Drinking water instead of caffeinated and alcoholic drinks is always a better beverage choice.
When You Drink MattersInstead of that morning coffee, reach for a big glass of water first thing in the morning. Sleeping dehydrates our bodies, which have been at rest without any intake of water for 7-8 hours. When you haven’t had enough water, your urine becomes more concentrated which can irritate the lining of the urethra and bladder. Try drinking an 8-ounce glass of water first thing every morning.
It’s also important to drink ample water several times throughout the day (read on for insights into how much to drink). By fueling your day with regular water intake, you should then reduce fluids after dinner to help prevent nighttime accidents.
How Much You Drink MattersMany men believe that limiting fluids is the best way to control incontinence. Truth is, restricting fluids can actually aggravate the problem. When you drink less water, your urine is more concentrated and can irritate the lining of the urethra and bladder. Decreased fluids can also lead to dehydration, and in turn to constipation, which can further contribute to incontinence problems.
So while drinking more (not less) may sound contrary, drinking plenty of water—at least 50 ounces or six to seven 8-ounce glasses distributed throughout the day—is actually good for bladder health and better control.
Drink It Up, Write It DownIf you’re concerned about the beverage-to-bladder leakage connection, track your fluid intake (what, when and how much you drink) as well as your toilet trips by using a bathroom journal. This will allow you to accurately monitor fluid intake and output and share the information with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate intake adjustments to make.
Armed with the right information, you can eat, drink and still be merry all while successfully controlling your bladder.