Fluid Management: The Diet(?) That’s Transforming Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects 200 million people worldwide. About 80% of sufferers are women, and for many, the symptoms are invasive, severe, and life-affecting. For those with urinary incontinence – and it could happen to anyone – simple, day-to-day tasks, like exercising and cleaning, are made stressful due to the risk of a potential accident.
Recently, doctors have been advising that patients with UI practice fluid management, a type of diet monitoring that eliminates excess fluid in the bladder. The concept is quite simple, as is the execution. The less water that is in the bladder, the less one can urinate, and for some, this can help get urinary incontinence fully under control.
Just follow a few simple rules:
Drink only when you feel thirsty. Though, yes, staying hydrated is important, if you’re afraid that your UI will cause an incident when you don’t have incontinence products on-hand, don’t carry a water bottle around with you.
Unless you have a medical condition that specifies otherwise, don’t drink more than eight 8-ounce cups of fluid on a daily basis. This includes not only how much water you drink, but soda, juice, soup, cereal with milk, and anything else that’s a liquid.
Drink small amounts at a time. Try not to drink more than an 8-ounce glass of water when you are thirsty, and enjoy small glasses of liquid with meals. Guzzling too much liquid at once will cause your bladder to fill more quickly, and will more likely cause the sense of urgency to urinate.
Cut down on alcoholic, caffeinated, and carbonated beverages. These are diuretics, which flush the water out of your system by causing you to urinate. Again, by moderating these ingredients, you’ll better avoid the sense of urgency to urinate.
Stop drinking a few hours before bed. For some, UI strikes the most throughout the night and can even interrupt sleep. To reduce the chances of having the urge to urinate or an accident while you’re in bed, have a limited amount to drink at dinner and none afterward.
As aforementioned, it is indeed important to stay hydrated. However, you’ve probably heard that you need to drink six to eight glasses of fluid per day in order to remain properly hydrated, when in truth, that’s an outdated piece of advice. It has been found that you can get much of your hydration from the food you drink. Thus, by managing your fluid intake, you won’t be compromising your health (unless you’re in a situation where hydration needs to be replenished, such as after exercising or when outside in the heat). You will, however, get a better grip on your UI.