11 Ways to Fight Incontinence

E. James Wright, M.D. | Aug 16, 2016 Aug 22, 2016

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What to try

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Millions of women experience urinary incontinence. Here are 11 tips to help you manage the symptoms.

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Perform Kegel exercises

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A recent National Institutes of Health study found that, of all non-invasive measures, Kegel exercises produced the most consistently beneficial results. Talk to your doctor to learn how to do these properly.

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Drink less

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Avoid drinking large amounts of fluid at one time. If you frequently wake up at night to urinate, stop drinking three or four hours before bedtime—but don’t cut back too much or you may find yourself dehydrated or constipated.

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Get your fiber

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Constipation can affect bladder control. Be sure to get enough fiber in your diet; 20 to 35 grams each day is the recommended amount.

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Don’t rush

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Sit on the toilet until your bladder feels empty. If you feel like there’s still some urine in your bladder, move around. If you are sitting, stand up, sit back down, and lean slightly forward over your knees.

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Quit smoking

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Research has shown that smokers seem to have more frequent and severe urine leakage, although the reason for this isn’t clear.

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Lose excess weight

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Losing weight can relieve added pressure on your bladder if you have stress or urge incontinence. Talk with your doctor about starting an exercise and diet regimen.

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Address other medical conditions

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Underlying health issues, such as high blood sugar, diabetes, and certain neurological disorders can affect bladder control.

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Train your bladder

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This practice, called timed voiding, includes urinating at certain intervals, perhaps once every hour, before an urge materializes. From there, you can increase the time between bathroom breaks to improve bladder capacity.

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Avoid foods that affect overactive bladder

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Tomatoes, citrus products, chocolate, spicy foods, alcohol, and beverages that contain caffeine or artificial sweeteners can make the irritate the bladder and make it more prone to overactivity.

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Practice a pelvic squeeze

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Squeeze pelvic muscles before sneezing, coughing, laughing, or picking up heavy objects. This will help prevent accidental urine loss.

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Wear convenient clothing

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Prevent accidents by wearing clothes that are easy to remove.