When it comes to having urinary incontinence, many women try to treat their symptoms by decreasing their intake of fluids. We get that this could seem like a natural quick fix: “drinking less = leaking less”. But did you know that limiting your fluids can cause harm? Read on to learn some surprising facts about the need to stay hydrated.
Q: Should I stop drinking fluids to manage urinary incontinence?
A: Absolutely not.
Not having enough fluid in your body can cause your urine to become concentrated, which can irritate the bladder, making you feel the urge to pass urine more frequently and/or with more urgency. It can also increase the risk of urine leakage. On the other hand, drinking enough fluids, helps flush irritants out of your body, leaving you feeling more energized and balanced. And what’s not to love about that?
Q: What happens if I get dehydrated?
A: You could be putting your well-being at risk.
A recent study from the European Hydration Institute concluded that when you are mildly dehydrated, you are just as prone to making potentially dangerous errors while driving as if you’d consumed low levels of alcohol. In fact, you're 114% more likely to make an error if you're driving while dehydrated. This is especially important considering that doctors believe as much as 75% of our adult population in the U.S. suffers from chronic dehydration. The take-away? Stay hydrated to stay alert.
Q: So what should I be drinking to keep my bladder in tip top shape?
A: Still water is always your best bet.
Fluids like coffee, tea, soda, artificial sweetener, carbonated beverages, and alcohol act as bladder irritants. By limiting your consumption of these beverages you can significantly improve the symptoms of your overactive bladder, decrease your need for incontinence pads, and even help treat existing urinary incontinence.
Wellness Tip: Whip up some “spa water” to make staying hydrated more enticing. Classic combinations include cucumber + mint, strawberry + basil, orange + lemon. To prepare, slice up fruits, herbs, or vegetables and add them into room temperature water. Let the ingredients infuse the water in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (but no more than 12). The more ingredients you use and the longer you let it infuse, the stronger the flavor will be. Discard the ingredients, and enjoy your refreshing, naturally flavored, no sugar added treat.