1. Drinking a lot of fluids
(2-3 L/day) can result in large amounts of urine produced (polyuria) and can therefore cause feelings of urinary urgency. Those with Diabetes who experience high blood sugars (hyperglycemia) can have an increased thirst. This can lead to a desire to drink more and then a greater urine output. Better control of diabetes can reduce feelings of urinary urgency.
2. Low fluid intake can have consequences also
Often if an individual experiences incontinence, they may cut back on fluids to avoid having an “accident”. But this can put an individual at risk of dehydration. Also, low fluid intake will cause urine to become concentrated and this can irritate the bladder lining and result in urgency symptoms. Dehydration is also a risk factor for constipation. Unless directed otherwise by a medical practitioner, one should drink 1.5 – 2 litres a day for normal hydration.
3. “Hold on” for longer
Healthy bladder function allows one to hold on for up to 4 hours before needing to go to the toilet. If you are going more than that, you may have an “overactive” bladder and may need to” retrain” the bladder to have a higher capacity. Learning to “hold on” for longer can train the bladder and brain to improve capacity.
4. Conduct pelvic floor exercises
5. Reduce bladder irritants
Caffeinated drinks - tea, coffee, coke or alcohol can act as bladder irritants causing urgency or frequency; these should be avoided or reduced
6. Reduce or stop smoking
This will reduce coughing and possible leakage. This is good for the overall health also.
7. Maintain a healthy body weight
Weight puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder causing possible urgency or frequency
8. Don’t go “just in case”
This is advised because If we constantly void just in case, we then train our brain as to what the norm is for us, and it can over time reduce bladder capacity. Voinding 4-8 times in a day is normal.
9. Avoid constipation
Constipation can put pressure on the bladder which can cause urinary urgency or frequency. In some cases if constipation is severe, it can lead to urinary retention (and one can be unable to void). Adopting a healthy diet, that includes fibre can assist in healthy bowel movements.
10. Continence pads, pants or pull-ups
They can help manage leakage whilst an individual improves their pelvic floor or whist other causes are addressed. Pads can also help an individual to gain the confidence to hold on a bit longer, without actually needing to void. They can also give an individual peace of mind if they need to go on a long trip, attend a social outing or if an individual is unfamiliar as to where public toilets are located. However, treating bladder concerns rather than just solving the issue with a pad alone is always recommended.