Ever not quite made it to the bathroom in time? Or laughed so hard that you may have peed… just a little?
It’s not uncommon. About 15 million Americans have to deal with urinary incontinence (not being in complete control of bladder function), and most of them are women. People with diabetes are at increased risk of incontinence, some cancer treatments can cause incontinence, and the risk of incontinence increases with age. Can’t we catch a break?
There are different types of incontinence, and if incontinence is caused by an underlying condition (such as in functional incontinence), treatment will need to involve addressing the underlying condition.
But for most folks, the below strategies can help curb incontinence and put you back in control of your bathroom breaks. Here are our top 10 bladder control tips:
1. Avoid caffeine and carbonation
You probably knew this would be on the list! Caffeine can contribute to both how often you need to go and how urgent the need is. Caffeine irritates the bladder and increases urine production, so it’s really not your bet bet when it comes to bladder control. Even decaffeinated coffee and tea may irritate the bladder.
Carbonation puts pressure on the bladder because of all those bubbles. If you love those fizzy drinks, at least sip slowly!
2. Avoid or reduce alcohol intake
Obviously anything you drink will eventually beckon you to the bathroom, but alcohol is a diruetic (it makes you need to go more), and it also prevents the release of the antidiuretic hormone, arginine vasopressin. This hormone tells the kidneys how much water to release into the urine and how much to retain in the body. When there are high levels of arginine vasopressin in the kidneys, you’ll need to go less often, which is especially helpful when trying to sleep without getting up to pee.
But alcohol suppresses this hormone, which means you’ll need to empty your bladder more often because the kidneys are releasing more water into the urine. So then, of course, you’ll be dehydrated and feel thirsty, which may make you reach for another beer, continuing the cycle. So toast wisely!
“NEXT” for more ways to fight incontinence
Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.