Drinking sufficient fluids each day is essential for maintaining a healthy bladder. If you don’t drink enough your bladder will become overly sensitive. You should try to consume at least 1.5-2 litres (or 6-8 glasses) of fluids each day.
DRINKS TO AVOID
It is advisable to avoid certain types of drinks, such as tea, coffee, cola and chocolate, as they contain caffeine which can irritate the bladder. An irritated bladder becomes overactive, which makes you feel as though you need to empty your bladder when it is not full.
Your diet should be balanced, not too high in fat, with plenty of fibre, and contain at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Healthy eating is also important because being overweight can make bladder problems worse.
There are a number of health risks associated with smoking. A ‘smokers cough’ can place extra pressure on the muscles of the pelvic floor, increasing your chances of experiencing stress incontinence.
If you don’t drink enough your bladder will become more sensitive to smaller amounts of urine, which means you will go to the toilet more frequently.
INFORM YOUR GP
It is a good idea to notify your GP if you are experiencing bladder weakness for the first time or if you already have bladder weakness and it has become worse.
Keep a Bladder Diary
Maintain a record of every time you experience bladder weakness.
Note the activity you were performing at the time, the types of beverages and the quantity you consumed beforehand, as well as the extent of the leakage.
Limiting fluid intake may actually increase the frequency of incontinence. Drinking a total of 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout the day is recommended. Unless advised to do so by your health professional, never restrict fluids to control incontinence.
• 40% Fruits and vegetables
• 30% Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
• 12% Meat, fish, eggs, beans
• 8% Milk and dairy foods