There are certain medications, foods and drinks that can cause women over 50 to lose bladder control or become incontinent, even temporarily. If you are experiencing bladder leakage or temporary urinary incontinence like stress incontinence (also called SUI) and urge incontinence (also known as an overactive bladder), try evaluating what you are consuming to see if it could be the underlying cause.
Diet and Weight:
Temporary incontinence is more common in women who are overweight. Extra weight applies increased pressure on your bladder and abdominal organs, which can result in stress incontinence even without laughing. As a result, your first step in using diet to manage a leaking bladder is to eat healthy food and manage your weight.
Food and Drink:
Some foods and drinks can irritate your bladder, causing you to urinate more often, or feel a greater urgency to urinate. Different foods affect women differently, so you will have to spend some time observing how your own body reacts to what you put in it.
The most obvious products that affect urination are diuretics or foods/drinks with diuretic properties.
Caffeine (from coffee, sodas, tea, even chocolate) is the most common diuretic in the diets of women over 50.
Alcohol also acts as a diuretic, by stimulating your bladder and by causing dehydration in your body.
While bladder irritation from caffeine, alcohol and other products can vary from person to person, if you are losing bladder control and consume these products, try going without them for a few weeks to see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Spicy Foods can irritate your bladder much like caffeine. You will have to spend some time observing the effect of different spicy ingredients and foods on your bladder before you can determine which of them (if any) to consider eliminating from your diet.
Acidic foods can also irritate the bladder. You should carefully monitor the effect of citrus products (including orange juice and cranberry juice, which can be recommended for healthy bladders) and tomatoes on your overactive or leaking bladder.
Food and drinks that contain carbonation (whether caffeinated or decaf), high levels of artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, or sugar can also irritate your bladder and cause you to pee more often.
Keeping a bladder diary is the best way to keep track of the effects of various foods and beverages (and the effect of removing them from your diet) on your leaking bladder.
Drinking the recommended amount of water, 8- 8oz glasses of water is crucial for proper health and hydration. Both dehydration and over-hydration can cause bladder problems.
Dehydration is not drinking enough fluid. A dehydrated body can produce very concentrated urine which is smelly and dark yellow. Dehydration also can lead to urinary tract infections from not regularly flushing out the toxins from your urinary tract. An irritated or dehydrated bladder can create a sense of urgency.
Over-hydration comes from a high intake of fluids in a short period of time. Over-hydration overwhelms your bladder and produces a strong urgency to pee.
Women who tend to over-hydrate are often exercisers whose workouts may create a lot of thirst. Try drinking constantly during your workout or the day instead of a large amount at one time.
Don’t drink too much during meals, either. A recommended intake of water is 2- 8 oz glasses of water during a meal and 1- 8 oz glass in between meals.
Try drinking the recommended amount of water during the day, but avoid drinking too much at any one time. If you experience incontinence at nighttime, concentrate most of your fluid drinking earlier in the day. And try decreasing your fluid intake at night. While you should drink as much water as possible, you may find that the recommended daily amounts (64 ounces) are more than your body can reasonably manage.
Certain medications can cause temporary incontinence. Heart medications, blood pressure medications, sedatives, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, antidepressants and diuretics can cause urinary incontinence.
If these medications are necessary, then please talk to your doctor about bladder control and any urinary incontinence symptoms you are experiencing.
The bladder is located very close to the rectum, which means they share several nerves. When you are constipated, the back-up can irritate the surrounding nerves, which then makes your bladder overactive and results in temporary incontinence.
To relieve constipation, make sure you are eating enough fiber and drinking enough water. If problems continue, visit your local pharmacy for medicine to relieve constipation.
Temporary urinary incontinence can cause disruptions in your day-to-day life. Closely evaluate what you are consuming—food, drink, and medication—and make sure you are following all of the necessary steps to manage your temporary incontinence. If you have evaluated all of the areas described here and are still having difficulties with your bladder, you may want to seek the help of a specialist (urologist or urogynecologist) who can help you with bladder control and leakage.
For more information about managing bladder weakness, download the FREE Vibrant Nation Special Report, 5 keys to manage a leaking bladder or overactive bladder for women over 50.