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Prevention of Urinary Incontinence

5/1/2008 - Written by the Diaper Incontinence team

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with nutritious diet attributes to preventing urinary incontinence.  In particular, avoidance obesity by maintaining weight control can be effective.

Women are affected by urinary incontinence more than men, possibly because of the after effects of child bearing. There is minimal evidence that exercises, such as antenatal pelvic floor exercises, may protect childbearing women from postnatal urinary incontinence; however, further research need to be conducted to determine the long term benefit of such exercise. It appears C-section deliveries may protect the mother against urinary incontinence. It is important to note that child birth will not lead to urinary incontinence, but is just an attributing factor.

As adults age, they become more prone to urinary incontinence because of a breakdown in the bladder or sphincter.  Certain diseases like multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury impairs such bodily functions.  For adults experiencing intermittent urinary incontinence, doctors may prescribe such individuals to utilize catheterization to prevent a full break down of bladder control.

Healthy Life is the Best Prevention — Living a healthy life is the best way to prevent urinary incontinence from developing. This includes proper diet, maintaining proper fluids, and daily exercise.  It is advised to drink a good supply of fluids (like water) in quantities of at least six to eight cups daily. More should be drank while exercising or in an environment with high temperatures. It is considered normal to empty the bladder about every three to four hours during the day and it is not uncommon for older persons to get up once during the night to go to the bathroom. While urinating, it is important to relax. Regular active bowel movements are the healthy way to prevent urinary incontinence. If you ever experience pain while urinating, seek medical counsel immediately.  If you get up more than once in the night to urinate, it is best to seek medical advise.

Healthy Diet — Some foods and drinks are considered to contribute to urinary incontinence on the basis that they may disrupt regular bowel movements. As an example, alcoholic beverages are a diuretic which increases the excretion of water from the body. Although further research is required, it does not hurt to partake the following in moderation: alcohol (beer, wine, shelf drinks, etc.), coffee, tea, soda (carbonated drinks), sugar, artificial sweeteners (sugar substitute), spicy foods.


  • McConnell, JD, Barry, MJ, Bruskewitz, RC, et al. Benign prostatic hyperplasia: Diagnosis and treatment. Clinical Practice Guideline, Number 8. AHCPR Publication No. 94-0582. Rockville, MD: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services 1994.
  • P97 Consensus Statement. First International Conference for the Prevention of Incontinence. London, June 25-27, 1997.
  • DuBeau, CE. Interpreting the effect of common medical conditions on voiding dysfunction in the elderly. Urol Clin North Am 1996; 23:11.

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