Raise a Glass
The best and worst drinks for incontinence
If you suffer from urinary incontinence, then chances are you are very careful about how much you drink. It makes sense that limiting your intake will also limit your output, making your problem easier to manage. However, this is not strictly true. It’s not just about how much you are drinking, but what you drink that makes the difference to how many Tena products for incontinence you need each day.
What’s more, drinking too little may actually make your incontinence worse, because concentrated urine will irritate the bladder. So what should you drink and when, and what drinks should you avoid if you have urinary incontinence?
What should you drink and when?
Even though you may be tempted to restrict your fluid intake to avoid accidents, your body still needs between one and a half and two litres of fluid a day. You don’t need to drink all of this, as some will come from your food, however you should drink enough that your urine is clear or light yellow. If your urine is dark, then you are dehydrated and you need to drink more.
The best thing to drink is plain water. This will allow you to hydrate your body without ingesting any unwanted chemicals or stimulants. Spread out your fluid intake throughout the day to avoid putting pressure on your bladder. Try using a smaller cup and sipping rather than gulping your drinks down. If you want to flavour your water, or enjoy a hot drink, certain herbal teas can be beneficial. For example, chamomile tea has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties that can ease bladder irritation and reduce your dependence on Tena products for incontinence. However, other herbal teas, such as elderflower and nettle, can have a diuretic effect, making you need the toilet more.
What drinks should you avoid?
There are a number of common drinks that will irritate the bladder and increase the urge to urinate. You should significantly reduce your consumption of these drinks, and if possible, avoid them altogether. Drinks to avoid include:
- Drinks with caffeine – including coffee, colas, energy drinks, regular tea and hot chocolate. Not only does caffeine irritate the bladder, it will also reduce the quality of your sleep so you are more likely to wake in the night needing the toilet.
- Acidic juices – including citrus fruit juice, tomato juice, pineapple juice and cranberry juice. Cranberry juice may be useful for easing urinary tract infections, but it is still an irritant in the bladder.
- Alcohol – alcohol can increase the acidity of urine and can also act as a diuretic. Similar to caffeine, alcohol reduces the quality of your sleep, so you are more likely to wake for a wee.
- Diet drinks – drinks with artificial sweeteners will irritate the bladder. Avoid drinks with aspartame and saccharin.
- Carbonated drinks – if you have a sensitive bladder, carbonated drinks can be an irritant and so are best avoided. Carbonated drinks often contain sweeteners, acidic fruits and caffeine, so they can be especially problematic.
How to change your drinking habits
Everyone is different, and the drinks that irritate one person’s bladder may be fine for someone else. Try removing all the potential problem drinks from your diet (come off coffee slowly if you drink a lot, to avoid withdrawal headaches) then introduce each one back in turn to see what effect it has. This will help you to identify which drinks are a particular problem for you, and it can save you from missing out on other drinks that you are able to tolerate. It will also help reduce your dependence on Tena products for incontinence and start to enjoy your life and your freedom a lot more.