Tag Archives: diet

Five Simple Tips to Manage Bladder Leakage in Menopause

Posted by on February 16, 2016 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Incontinence Menopause

Original post written by Dr. Anna Garrett for LiveConfidently.com

When you go through menopause, estrogen levels drop. For some women, this can result in weakening of the pelvic floor muscles that support bladder control, causing LBL (light bladder leakage). You’ve probably heard about LBL. It’s that little leak that comes with a big sneeze or a hearty laugh. A range of things, from exercise to caffeinated drinks, can trigger it. It’s also part of that urgent “gotta go right now” feeling you might get on the way to the restroom.

But there’s good news! It’s a myth that LBL is something all women will experience because of menopause, and there are things you can do to manage any unwelcome leaks. Here are five simple tips to help keep you dry and comfortable.

1. Wear the Right Protective Products

Wear an absorbent pad or pantiliner designed just for bladder leaks if you’re going to be out and about. These pads and liners look and feel very similar to menstrual pads and liners, but are designed for very different needs. Because they are specifically designed to absorb bladder leaks, they can often hold two to three times as much urine as a menstrual pad or liner. They also do a better job of controlling odors caused by urine. Our blog post on Incontinence Products vs. Feminine Products further explores the differences between these products.

2. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can cause constipation, and constipation can contribute to bladder leakage for some women. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day (although not too much), eat plenty of fiber, and exercise regularly to keep things moving.

3. Manage Your Schedule

When scheduling your workday, consider scheduling visits to the bathroom on regular, timed intervals throughout the day. This will give you time to change your protective products and help with training your bladder. It may be helpful to keep an incontinence journal for 5-7 days to pinpoint when you’re most likely to visit the bathroom, and then build your schedule from there.

4. Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

Avoid caffeine and other drinks or foods that can irritate the lining of the bladder. If you don’t like drinking plain water, find one or two alternative drinks that are caffeine and acid free to substitute. And please note, sodas (even if caffeine-free) are very acidic and should be avoided. Our blog post on Foods and Drinks that can Trigger Incontinence has more information on items that can irritate the bladder.

5. Keep Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Strong

Try pelvic floor muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises. These exercises are most effective for LBL, not heavier incontinence. To do this exercise, lie on the ground with your legs apart and feet flat on the floor. Gently contract your pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold this contraction for a few seconds and then release. Continue these exercises, completing three sets of 15 each day. With regular exercise, you should see an improvement within a few months.

If heavier incontinence is a problem, consider having a thorough evaluation of your pelvic floor.  It’s possible, especially in menopause, that there is pelvic floor prolapse. In this situation, the nerves that control the bladder may not be connecting well with the pelvic muscles. This requires physical therapy and core strengthening. Kegel exercises could make incontinence worse if you have an undiagnosed pelvic floor muscle spasm, so be sure to check with your physician before getting started.

Remember, one in three women who are experiencing menopause are also experiencing LBL. You’re NOT alone! To connect with other women experiencing light bladder leakage in menopause, visit our incontinence forum. We’d love to hear your experiences, questions, and suggestions.

Foods and Drinks that can Trigger Incontinence

Posted by on January 7, 2016 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

Original post written by Dr. Anna Garrett for LiveConfidently.com

Some foods and drinks can aggravate urge incontinence (overactive bladder). There’s no formal “urinary incontinence diet,” so finding out what worsens your symptoms is a process of trial and error. Since we’re all unique individuals, what sends one person running for the bathroom may be just fine for another.

Let’s take a look at six common diet culprits that can irritate the bladder and worsen the symptoms of incontinence.

1. Too Much Water

When you’re bothered by urinary incontinence, there’s a fine line between preventing dehydration and worsening your incontinence. Most sources recommend drinking eight 8 oz. cups of water daily. However, four to six 8 oz. cups may be an amount that prevents dehydration and unexpected trips to the bathroom. Managing fluids helps the symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.

2. Alcoholic Beverages

If you have urge incontinence or mixed urinary incontinence (a combination of urge and stress), alcoholic beverages can be bad news. Alcohol has a direct effect on the bladder, reduces nerve control, and acts as a diuretic that can cause dehydration. It interferes with the messages your brain sends to your bladder (telling it when to go, when to hold urine, etc.) so you’re more likely to have an incontinence episode.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the bladder and also acts as a diuretic. It’s best to eliminate coffee and other caffeine sources (tea, chocolate, soda) completely from your diet when you have urinary incontinence. Giving up your daily “cup of joe” can be difficult because caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches and fatigue. A slow taper may make this process more manageable. If you can’t give it up completely, cut back to one cup of coffee a day and don’t drink it after 7 pm.

4. Spicy Foods

If you have urge incontinence (overactive bladder), you may want to avoid foods that contain hot peppers, chili powder, horseradish, or other pungent spices. Spicy foods can irritate the lining of the bladder and worsen the symptoms of incontinence. Again, pinpointing the spicy culprits is all about trial and error. Eliminate the prime suspects, then add them back one at a time until you identify the source.

5. Acidic Foods

If you have urinary incontinence, it’s wise to avoid acidic foods and drinks, including tomatoes, orange juice, cranberry juice, and other items. Citrus-based foods and drinks are highly acidic and tend to irritate the bladder. Cranberry juice is often used to help bladder infections, but it does not help with overactive bladder and urge incontinence.

6. Carbonated Drinks

The carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks (with or without caffeine) can irritate a sensitive bladder, which can set off urge incontinence. Try to stick to natural beverages, like water or non-acidic fruit and vegetable juices.

Where to Begin

An elimination diet may feel like you’re giving up everything you love, but the likelihood is that you aren’t sensitive to everything on the list of top offenders. Begin by eliminating everything in your diet that you suspect may be causing problems. Once you’ve determined if this approach helps your symptoms, you can begin to add things back one at a time to see if you can tolerate small amounts. If your incontinence symptoms worsen, you will know that the item you added back to your diet is something you need to eliminate permanently. You may want to download and print our Diet Journal Page (PDF) to help keep track of what you’ve eaten and the side effects. Using trial and error, you’ll create a personal diet plan that works for you and your incontinence symptoms.

What are some foods and drinks that irritate your incontinence symptoms? What steps have you taken to modify your diet to avoid these items? Head over to our incontinence forum to share your experiences!

Four Easy Ways to Stay Healthy while Traveling

Posted by on November 12, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Original post written by Leslie Gaillard for LiveConfidently.com

Whether you’re traveling by car, plane, or train this season, you are bound to encounter some obstacles in your path to staying healthy. However, a little preparation and forethought can go a long way to make your travel experience more enjoyable and healthy.

1. Stay Properly Hydrated

Staying properly hydrated especially during the hot summer months is important. Carry a reusable bottle (BPA-free) with you at all times that you can fill from a water fountain regularly. If you find water boring, spruce it up by adding a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon, lime, or orange. Avoid calorie-laden beverages like regular soda, sweet tea, and fruit drinks. It’s also best to limit your consumption of caffeinated beverages such as coffee and cola, as these stimulate greater urine output and increase the potential for dehydration as well as incontinence for those who are susceptible.

2. Pack Healthy Snacks

Regardless of your method of travel, bring some healthy, non-perishable snacks like nuts, instant oatmeal packs (cook using heated water from coffee pot), high fiber granola bars, vacuum sealed pouches of tuna or wild salmon, lower sodium turkey jerky, and even some dried fruit. If you are traveling by car, you may want to also consider packing a cooler with some refreshing low or no calorie beverages along with some fresh fruit and vegetables. With these supplies, you are much less likely to be tempted by high calorie, high sodium foods at fast food or chain restaurants that you encounter along the highway.

3. Watch Out for Calories

When you do eat out in restaurants, steer clear of fried foods and those with high fat or creamy sauces. If a sandwich comes with mayonnaise or a dressing, ask for it on the side or order a low fat alternative like mustard. Look for restaurants that also post their calorie information online so you can make informed decisions prior to dining out. Most fast food and chain restaurants post their nutrition facts online or via smartphone applications, and some even make it available in the restaurant.

4. Get Moving

Stay physically fit during your travel and pack a pair of comfortable shoes. Traveling to new places is a great opportunity to get some extra exercise. Invest in a pedometer and watch your steps accumulate throughout the day. Book a hotel that has lots of interesting sights within walking distance; if your destination is one mile or less away, consider walking instead of taking another mode of transportation. Look into walking tours, parks, and even bikes that you can rent to make your vacation even more interesting and environmentally friendly as you embark on your next memorable summer outing.

How do you stay healthy while traveling? Head to our forum to share your thoughts with people just like you!

You can find the original article here.