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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Home Treatment

You can use behavioral strategies to help control urinary incontinence. These include simple changes to your diet, lifestyle, and urinary habits.

Diet and lifestyle strategies

  • Reduce or stop drinking caffeinated and carbonated drinks, such as coffee, tea, and soda pop.
  • Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink a daycamera.gif.
  • Eat less of any food that might irritate your bladder. Then look for changes in your bladder habits. Such foods include citrus fruit, chocolate, tomatoes, vinegars, spicy foods, dairy products, and aspartame.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Avoid constipation:
    • Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fiber.
    • Drink enough fluids. Don't avoid drinking fluid because you are worried about leaking urine.
    • Get some exercise every day. Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
    • Take a fiber supplement with psyllium (such as Metamucil) or methylcellulose (such as Citrucel) each day. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Having a daily routine may help. Take your time and don't strain.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose some weight. Be more active, and make small, healthy changes to what and how much you eat. You will notice good results over time.
  • Try pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.

Urinary habits

Try one or more of these tips. They may help you gain some control over your symptoms:

  • Set a schedule for urinating every 2 to 4 hours. Go whether or not you feel the need.
  • Practice "double voiding." This means urinating as much as possible, relaxing for a few moments, and then urinating again.
  • If you have trouble reaching the bathroom before you urinate, consider making a clearer, quicker path to the bathroom. Wear clothes that are easy to take off (such as those with elastic waistbands or Velcro closures). Or keep a urinal close to your bed or chair.

Talk with your doctor about all the medicines you take, including nonprescription medicines, to see if any of them may be making your incontinence worse. Medicines that may cause urinary incontinence in men include certain antidepressants, sedatives, and even some allergy and cold medicines.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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