Your diet can be a very important part of your battle with incontinence. Here are some tips on choosing the right foods, and some home remedies you can find in your kitchen.
Home Remedies From the Refrigerator
Juice and other drinks. Grape, cranberry, cherry, and apple juices are not irritating to the bladder and may help control the odor of your urine. They may also help diminish urinary tract infections. However, some beverages seem to irritate the bladder lining and, as a result, cause bladder leakage. You may want to eliminate certain substances from your diet or at least decrease your intake of them to see if your urine control improves. The caffeine in coffee, for instance, may irritate the bladder, and the ingredients that give coffee its distinct aroma (also found in decaffeinated varieties) can be irritating too. Tea, another favorite breakfast drink, is not only a diuretic, which promotes fluid loss through urination, but also a bladder irritant. (As a substitute for your morning cup of coffee or tea, try one of the hot grain beverages found in your grocer's coffee and tea aisle.) Citrus fruits and juices, such as grapefruit and tomato, can be a problem. Carbonated sodas may be irritating, too (although you might be able to tolerate seltzer water, because it's not as highly carbonated as sodas). And, finally, alcoholic beverages should be avoided. Your safest beverage bet is water, perhaps with a twist of lemon for flavor (a few drops of lemon should not be enough citrus to cause or aggravate an incontinence problem).
Home Remedies From the Cupboard
Vinegar. A person prone to leakage is also at risk for developing irritated skin from the wetness. Always clean damp areas with plain soap and water, followed by a rinse of diluted vinegar to disinfect and control odors. For a quick clean-up, keep a bottle of diluted vinegar and cotton balls close to the toilet.
Foods to avoid. Experts don't know what it is about certain foods that seems to aggravate the bladder, but you may want to try cutting back on the following foods to see if your bladder control problem improves: hot spices and the food they're in, such as curry powder and chili; tomato-based foods; sugars, such as honey and corn syrup; and chocolate.
Try a recipe for success. If constipation is contributing to your urinary incontinence problem, adding fiber to your diet may relieve the constipation, and in turn, the incontinence. Here's an easy-to-make snack from the National Association for Continence (previously known as Help for Incontinent People, or HIP) that may help. Combine one cup of applesauce, one cup of oat bran, and a quarter cup of prune juice. Store the mixture in your refrigerator, or freeze premeasured servings in sectioned ice-cube trays. Begin with two tablespoons every evening, followed by a six- to eight-ounce glass of water or juice (one of the acceptable varieties mentioned previously). After seven to ten days, increase this to three tablespoons. Then, at the end of the second or third week, increase your intake to four tablespoons. You should begin to see an improvement in your bowel habits in about two weeks. The extra fiber may cause increased gas or bloating, but this should decrease after a few weeks as your body adjusts. Be sure to keep up your daily fluid intake in addition to using this fiber recipe.
Home Remedies From the Sink
Water. Drink to your bladder! Cozy on up to the sink and down a glass of water. Sounds strange, considering the bladder is leaking, but being well hydrated actually helps. If you cut back on fluid intake, you may become dehydrated, resulting in constipation. This, in turn, irritates nerves that may trigger the bladder to let loose. Schedule water consumption so you can regulate the fullness of your bladder. Stick to the recommended eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
Don't be controlled by incontinence any longer. Get in control by following the home remedies listed in this article.
For more information about urinary tract problems and how to combat them, try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- To learn how to avoid coming down with an infection of the urinary tract, read How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections.
- To ease painful urinary tract symptoms at home, try the tips in Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infections.
- Home Remedies for Kidney Stones discusses how to prevent kidney stones from forming, and how to alleviate their symptoms.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.