If you find yourself trying to cope with incontinence, you are undoubtedly always looking for new strategies and ways to make it easier. You are definitely not alone; many Americans have to contend with this problem, and many learn to manage it quite effectively. One thing that most people do not realize is that incontinence and nutrition are very closely linked. Being conscientious about your diet and nutrition can have a dramatic – and positive – impact on your incontinence.
How weight affects incontinence?
Any doctor will tell you that carrying around extra pounds can have a very negative impact on managing incontinence. In fact, obesity has been determined to be a major factor for people suffering from SUI (Stress Urinary Incontinence). All that extra weight increases pressure on the abdominal area – and also increases the likelihood and occurrence of incontinence. By shedding even just a small percentage of the pounds, people can drastically reduce the impact that this condition has on their life – in addition to enjoying many other great health benefits associated with losing weight.
How can diet effect bladder control?
Certain foods and beverages increase instances of incontinence. Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits; doctors recommend consuming no more than 500 mg per day – this is equivalent to five cups of regular strength coffee. Even if you can consume up to 500mg of caffeine per day without experiencing incontinence symptoms, you should reduce intake for other health reasons. People who eliminate caffeine altogether are generally able to manage their incontinence better than those who do not.
Citrus foods and tomato-based foods can also exacerbate incontinence. Even if you take care to use recommended incontinence products and prescriptions, consuming a diet high in these foods can negate any good you are doing. Chocolate and spicy foods have also been shown to contribute to the problem. By eliminating or cutting back on these and other problem foods, you can reduce the symptoms and occurrence of your incontinence.
Watch what you eat and drink.
Although there is no special diet to cure incontinence, there are certain dietary matters you should know about. Certain foods and beverages are thought to contribute to bladder leakage. Their effect on the bladder is not always understood, but you may want to see if eliminating one or all of the irritants listed below improves bladder control.
Common bladder irritants:
• Alcoholic beverages
• Carbonated beverages (with or without caffeine)
• Milk or milk products
• Coffee or tea (even decaffeinated)
• Medicines that contain caffeine
• Citrus juice & fruits
• Tomatoes or tomato-based products
• Highly spiced foods
• Corn syrup
• Artificial sweeteners
Fiber and Incontinence
Constipation can wreak havoc on incontinence, increasing its occurrence and making it even worse. Making sure you consume enough fiber in your daily diet can do wonders for the condition and help keep constipation at bay. At the same time, making sure that you are adequately hydrated throughout the day can also improve your incontinence symptoms. By keeping nutrition in mind, you can live your life freely and manage the condition.
Importance of proper hydration and water intake.
Water is essential for body functions including digestive, absorption, circulatory and excretory functions, as well as the absorption of water soluble vitamins. Water also is required for the transport of nutrients and waste within our bodies, to make saliva, cushion joints and plays a major role in temperature regulation.
Many people with bladder control problems reduce the amount of liquids they drink in the hope that they will urinate less. This can create highly concentrated, irritating urine, which can make a person have to go to the bathroom more often. This encourages the growth of bacteria, which can lead to infections.
If you suffer from incontinence it is important to discuss your diet and medications with your physician. Often a simple adjustment in what you intake can have a drastic effect on your urinary incontinence problem.
Dr. Gauta is now the first physician in S.W. Florida dual board certified in Urogynecology and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Gauta’s practice, The Florida Bladder Institute, is solely dedicated to Urogynecology. One out of every six women suffers from overactive bladder and half of all women will suffer from pelvic organ prolapse. A challenge for women seeking treatment is that they would go to a urologist for one problem, a gynecologist for another and a gastroenterologist for another. Dr. Gauta explains “A Urogynecologist has the skill and experience to assess the entire pelvic region including the uterus, bladder, vagina, rectum as well as the muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that support those systems. Evaluating your pelvic system as a whole ensures the best treatment and outcome”. Some of the newer treatment options include biofeedback, electrical stimulation, Botox, and minimally invasive outpatient surgery. In addition to providing the most advanced medical care for his patients, Dr. Gauta is a preceptor for Boston Scientific, Medtronic and Olympus and trains other physicians from around the world on how to do the most advanced Urogynecology procedures. He is the recipient of the prestigious Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors award, and is amongst the top 1% of physicians in the country who are honored with the Patient’s Choice Award for 5 years in a row. Dr. Gauta received his training at Tulane University in New Orleans mentored by world renowned Urogynecologists David Herbert M.D. and Thomas Elkins M.D.
Florida Bladder Institute