For words you might want to know more
The involuntary leakage of urine is triggered by activities such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, running or jumping. Despite the name, stress incontinence is not caused by emotional stress, but by weak pelvic floor muscles.
The involuntary leakage of urine caused by a sudden, intense urge to pee.
A therapy programme designed to improve pelvic floor function. It includes assessments, exercises, treatments and education.
There’s no dietary cure for incontinence. However, what you eat and drink can have a profound impact on, well, how it comes out.
Making simple nutritional changes can help you minimise your intake of products that cause bladder irritation so that you can improve your bladder control.
We’ve all experienced that heart-stopping moment after you’ve sneezed or laughed, and then…peed. Urinary incontinence may feel embarrassing to address, but it shouldn’t be — it’s very common.
But why does this happen? And can our diet make bladder issues worse?
Here at Jude, we ask an expert to explain all.
Around14 million in the UK people of all ages are living with bladder problems, roughly the equivalent size of the over 60 population in the country. An estimated 34% of women alone are living with urinary incontinence.
But it’s not as straightforward as you may think. There are three different types of urinary incontinence, including:
Stress incontinence. This means people may accidentally pee a little bit when their bladder is under stress, for example when they cough, sneeze, exercise or laugh.
Urge incontinence. We’ve all been here — when you have a very sudden and immediate urge to rush to the toilet, often with seconds to spare.
Mixed incontinence. A combination of stress and urge incontinence
What you eat and drink can have an effect on your bladder. Regarding liquids, there's definitely a lot you can do that doesn’t require that much effort to help reduce unwanted bladder leaks.
Ultimately, it’s all about reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake.
“It’s important not to restrict yourself, but to instead offer ‘healthy swaps’ as this is a much more sustainable way to make long-term changes. For example, opt for lemon and ginger tea, or peppermint instead of your usual cup of tea or coffee.
“Some fizzy drink brands also offer a non-caffeine alternative, like the gold coke, which is caffeine-free and tastes similar. But ideally, do try and avoid carbonated drinks if you can.”
Ms Ivaz also said that: “Citrus fruit and tomatoes may also act as irritants — as does spicy food, so if you have a particularly sensitive bladder, try cutting down on these foods too.”
Regarding foods, there are certain culprits which can irritate the urinary tract. But this is very personal and specific to each person. As a result, it may be worth keeping a food diary to see if you can spot any patterns.
Gluten intolerance or allergy is often one of the most common causes of overactive bladder You can test this by avoiding these foods and seeing if it makes any difference:
Cereals and oats
Bread and breaded dishes
When you’re tallying up your liquid intake for the day, also try to make sure that you factor in fluids from fruit, vegetables and soups. You can check the colour of your urine to see if it is the ideal shade of light yellow.
We all know about how popular those pelvic floor exercises are, but Ms Ivaz said that they really do work.
“Pelvic floor physio is very important — as is a balanced fluid intake, healthy bowel movement and avoiding constipation”.
You can stay regular and avoid constipation by incorporating more fibre-rich foods into your diet, such as:
Whole grains (oats, barley, rye)
Ms Ivaz also urged women who are overweight to try and lose a few pounds as this can also increase pressure on the bladder.
“Weight loss is really important,” she said. “It can reduce abdominal pressure, and can reduce incontinence by up to 30%.”
“Seeing the GP to exclude urine infections and other underlying problems such as diabetes is also recommended,” Ms Ivaz added.
Whilst both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterised by having higher than normal blood glucose levels, the cause and development of the conditions are different.
By making simple changes to your diet, food choices and lifestyle, you can minimise the impact on your bladder and do more to stop any unwanted leaks. Try swapping:
Coffee and tea for non-caffeinated versions as well as herbal teas
Spicy food for chilli flakes or powder as seasoning
Fizzy drinks for fruit-infused water or coconut water
Tomatoes or other acidic foods for bell peppers, carrots or cucumber
Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit for berries and bananas
Identifying your food triggers is an important way to manage and control your diet.
If you think your diet may be making your symptoms worse, keeping a food diary can help you keep on top of what’s exacerbating the issue. And remember not to overdo it on the caffeine and fizzy drinks!
Do you plan your life around toilet trips? With a powerful blend of pumpkin seed and soy germ extract, Jude's Bladder Strength Supplements are clinically proven to improve bladder control and reduce unwanted leaks. Try today for better nights and happier days!