Whether it’s that sense of urgency when you laugh or the incessant fear of not making it to the bathroom in time, women who suffer from urinary incontinence are often embarrassed by their condition and sometimes feel like the only people on the planet who must endure it. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. While urinary incontinence does affect women more often than men, millions of women deal with some type of bladder control issue at some point in their lives. And the truth is this: if you suffer from urinary incontinence, it doesn't have to be a condition that puts you in adult diapers for the rest of your life. In fact, there are some simple diet and lifestyle changes that can put you back on the road to bladder control.
Caffeine-If you suffer from urinary incontinence, one of your worst enemies can be caffeinated beverages. Caffeine stimulates bladder function and is also considered a diuretic--something that causes increased passing of urine. Though it can be much easier said than done, limiting or eliminating caffeine altogether has been known to be successful in diminishing and resolving issues of urinary incontinence in some women.
Alcohol- Like caffeine, alcoholic beverages act as bladder stimulants and diuretics in most people. So when you have a problem with urinary continence, consuming even slight amounts of alcohol can make matters worse. But before feeling like you need to forever banish that evening glass of wine, try taking a break for a week or two from consuming any alcohol at all. If your urinary incontinence subsides significantly, then you may want to consider the pros and cons of future alcohol consumption.
Spicy Foods- It isn't only liquids that can aggravate problems in someone with urinary incontinence. Studies show that spicy foods can sometimes be an irritant to the lining of the bladder. Fare like spicy chili, chili peppers or horseradish are examples of foods that can cause such irritation. Likewise, highly acidic foods can trigger a similar response. While cranberry juice has been known to be effective in relieving UTIs, the same doesn't hold true for clearing up issues with urinary incontinence. Due to its high acidity, it can actually worsen the condition in some women.
Exercise- Now that we've covered some of the dietary triggers that can make a problem with urinary incontinence worse, let's discuss an exercise that has been shown to actually make things better. Most women have heard of Kegel exercises as a means to help many female conditions: better intercourse with a partner and an easier childbirth experience are a couple of often-discussed examples. Did you also know that Kegel exercises are among the most effective ways of managing and even reversing urinary incontinence? It's true. In general, these simple exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles--which are the muscles that support and bolster the bladder. As these muscles get stronger, the ability to control urine flow increases.
Of course, there are times when urinary incontinence can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you've tried conservative methods for relieving the problem and they haven't been effective, or the problem has worsened, consider making an appointment with an urologist. Urologists have special expertise and training in solving problems associated with the urinary tract and can help provide you a plan to regain the bladder control you've lost.