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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Living With Urinary Incontinence

Lifestyle Changes and Urinary Incontinence

Besides taking advantage of medical help, there are many other ways to make living with urinary incontinence easier. Among the experts' best tips include:

  • Monitor your fluid intake. Managing your fluid intake -- say, keeping your daily water intake to a quart or so -- may be all you need to do to notice improvement. However, talk to your doctor before making any major changes.
  • Pay attention to your diet. Among foods and drinks that may worsen incontinence are alcoholic beverages, caffeine-containing foods and drinks, spicy foods, high-acid foods such as citrus fruits and juices, and carbonated drinks. If you notice symptoms of urinary incontinence worsen after you have any of these foods or drinks, eliminating them or cutting back on them may help.
  • Be aware of the potential emotional toll of urinary incontinence. Incontinence can cause emotional distress and depression, particularly urge incontinence, because it is so unpredictable. Continue to seek effective treatments until you get relief.
  • Plan ahead and plan accordingly. The simplest planning can make living with urinary incontinence easier and less stressful. If you know, for instance, that the stair-climbing machine at your gym makes you leak, try something else. If you know you always shop longer than you plan to, consider one of the many urinary incontinence products, such as panty liners or pads, to help avoid embarrassing situations.
  • Talk about urinary incontinence with your partner. Living with urinary incontinence can mean you leak urine during sex. And while that is embarrassing, try to talk about it calmly with your partner. If you focus on solutions, it's bound to get better. Among the experts' tips: Empty your bladder right before intercourse. Cut back a bit on fluids to minimize leaking urine. Experiment with different positions; one may be better then another for minimizing leaking.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on July 27, 2014

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