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Tips for Coping Day to Day With Urinary Incontinence

You don't have to just live with incontinence -- simple changes like these 13 tips can help you take control.

8 Quick Tips for Coping With Urinary Incontinence continued...

5. Cool It on the Caffeine. As much as you may love your java, or crave a cola come 3 p.m., you're doing yourself no favor by drinking caffeine-rich beverages like coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks. To help control urinary incontinence, eliminate these diuretics -- or at least cut back.

6. Drink Up -- But Not Too Much. Your body needs fluids, so be sure to drink enough to stay well hydrated. Drink about two quarts (eight cups) to keep your bladder and kidneys healthy.

7. Watch for Medication Side Effects. Talk with your physician to make sure you're not taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that could be making your urinary incontinence worse. If you are -- and need those medicines -- Comiter suggests you "stay close to home (near a bathroom) for a few hours after taking a diuretic" drug.

8. The Tampon Tip. Women can try wearing a tampon to help control leaks when they jog, run, dance or do other energetic activities. The tampon puts a bit of pressure on your urethra, helping to prevent leakage.

5 Long-Term Tips for Coping With Urinary Incontinence

Managing urinary incontinence is a long-term issue for most people. Be sure you're doing all you can to make things easier. Some long-term tips include:

1. Talk to Your Doctor. Don't be shy! Get your physician or urologist on your side. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment for your urinary incontinence.

2. Change Your Diet. A cup of coffee and juice in the morning, a soda with lunch, a few beers or glasses of wine with dinner -- it can really add up. Fluid management can be critical in controlling urinary incontinence long term. But you're body does need fluids. Before making big changes, talk to your doctor.

3. Lose Weight. Weight loss hasn't definitively been shown to help UI, Comiter tells WebMD, just as being overweight hasn't been shown to cause incontinence. "However, obesity can lead to diabetes, which can lead to urinary incontinence."

4. Quit Smoking. While obviously a health hazard, smoking isn't a strong risk factor for urinary incontinence, Comiter says. But if smoking is causing you to cough, this could be exacerbating your leakage. Chalk this one up as another reason to quit.

5. Medication and Surgery. Both stress incontinence and urge incontinence can be treated with medication, though behavioral therapies like the tips above are often more effective. Surgery is mainly an option for stress incontinence though -- as with medication -- it may not be the most effective initial treatment for UI. Talk with your doctor to learn more about these options.

All of these tips can help you cope with urinary incontinence, though for day-to-day management Comiter says two of the best tips are also the simplest: Kegel exercises and time urination.

"They are inexpensive, risk free, and if they work in the short term, [they] should work in the long term -- especially in patients with mild symptoms."

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Reviewed on December 15, 2011
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