Lemon, Chocolate, Sweet And Sour, Sweet, Sour, EatingManaging incontinence is something that millions of people are learning to do in the UK right now. The true figure of who suffers from urinary incontinence is not known, simply because many people who suffer from it find it an embarrassing ailment to talk about.
Some people also believe that incontinence is an inevitable sign of aging, or the obvious result of child birth or high-impact sports. No matter what or why incontinence happens, for too long sufferers have simply ‘put up with it’.
The availability of high quality and appropriate incontinence pads has increased. Men and women are reluctant to keep hiding this condition that is causing them issues on a daily basis.
Urinary incontinence treatment
There are various treatments and solutions, from pelvic floor exercises to medications and, in extreme cases, surgery.
Nature also presents some solutions for easing the symptoms of urinary incontinence. By understanding how some foods and drinks impact on the bladder and digestive system, you can rule out foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse.
Before you start however, take heed that cutting out complete food groups may not be the right course of action for you which is why consulting with a health professional, such as your GP or specialist incontinence nurse is a great starting point.
Staying hydrated is a key component in staying healthy. The brain needs water to work properly, so that you can remain focussed throughout your day; your digestive system also needs it so that it can process food and move waste through the gut.
But what you drink, how much and when can impact on how incontinent you can be at a given time.
- Drinking 2 litres of water a day is ample fluid
- Space out your drinking throughout the day, drinking little but often; consuming too much all at once overwhelms the bladder
- As you go through the day, start to limit your intake of fluids, consuming less in the evening
Top tip – not consuming enough fluid can irritate the bladder, making incontinence worse.
Your nightly glass of wine you may think, won’t be causing you too many problems but alcohol dehydrates the system by increasing the amount of urine that you produce. Clearly, producing more urine places more pressure on al already irritated bladder and weakened pelvic floor, leading to urinary incontinence.
Incontinence experts suggest decreasing alcohol intake or better still cutting it out altogether.
Caffeine is commonly found in hot drinks such as tea and coffee, although it is found in some carbonated soft drinks. There is a high level of caffeine in some ‘energy drinks’. It is also found in some foods such as chocolate.
You may enjoy several cups of tea a day but caffeine acts as a diuretic which means that like alcohol, you will produce more urine when you consume it.
Consider eliminating it from your diet completely or seriously cutting down the amount of caffeinated drinks and foods you consume.
# Acidic drinks and foods
Lemon juice squeezed over fish, a delightful orange flavoured mousse or maybe a drink of apple juice with your lunch… citrus fruits are some of the healthiest fruits we consume but they are a major bladder irritant.
Tomatoes are also acidic and along with organs, limes, lemons and other acid foods and drink cutting them out of your diet or certainly decreasing the amount consumed will instantly make your bladder feel less irritated and possibly less prone to accidental leakage of urine.
Top tip – carbonated drinks can also irritate the bladder. Consume sparingly, if at all.
# Spicy and sugar-laden foods
A take away curry or a spice Chinese meal is, for some, a weekend treat after a hard few days at work. But spices and sugar can place the digestive system under pressure and as a result, irritate the bladder.
Sugar, honey and artificial sweeteners should be limited and consider whether you really need the extra hot curry or Chinese dish for your evening meal.
A question of balance
Managing urinary incontinence is about understanding how your body, especially your bladder, reacts to certain foods. What might irritate one person, may not irritate you thus you can experiment with what suits you.
For those that do suffer incontinence, it can feel counter-intuitive to drink more water but you may be surprised at how much easier it is to manage the symptoms of incontinence when the bladder is not so irritated. Along with pelvic floor exercises, balancing what you eat can make a real difference to incontinence.
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