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Overlooked Triggers of Urinary Incontinence and GI Discomfort

Did you know that certain foods and lifestyle habits can cause bladder and bowel irritation leading to incontinence?

6 min read
Overlooked Triggers of Urinary Incontinence and GI Discomfort
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Overlooked Triggers of Urinary Incontinence and Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Did you know that certain foods and lifestyle habits can cause bladder and bowel irritation leading to incontinence?

Overlooked Triggers of Urinary Incontinence and Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Did you know that certain foods and lifestyle habits can cause bladder and bowel irritation leading to incontinence?*

Food and Drinks Triggers of Urinary Incontinence

If you or a loved one is struggling with incontinence, you may be familiar with some of the common triggers, such as pregnancy or certain medical conditions. But did you know that there are other lesser-known factors that can contribute to this condition? These triggers may be related to your diet and lifestyle habits, and may not be as obvious.

Identifying these factors can be key to managing incontinence symptoms more effectively. Taking control of your bladder and bowel health can be empowering, and making simple changes to your lifestyle habits can make a big difference.

Are you interested in finding out what lifestyle habits and dietary choices could be worsening your incontinence symptoms? Keep reading to uncover these hidden culprits, and discover effective ways to alleviate the discomfort*.

Incontinence-Causing Foods & Drinks

Incontinence-Causing Foods & Drinks

Avoiding certain foods and drinks can be beneficial for those managing bladder and bowel irritation. Here are some common culprits that can contribute to incontinence:

  • Coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks (even without caffeine): These drinks stimulate and irritate the bladder, so it is recommended to avoid them or consume them in moderation.
  • Acidic fruits such as grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, and fruit juices: Opting for non-acidic fruits and vegetables can help to minimize irritation and promote overall health.
  • Spicy foods: Chili peppers, hot sauce, and other spicy foods can irritate the bladder and cause higher urinary urgency.
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products: These contain high levels of acid and can irritate the bladder, triggering incontinence symptoms.
  • Alcohol: Beer and wine, in particular, can irritate the bladder and contribute to incontinence due to their diuretic effect.
  • Chocolate and cocoa: These contain caffeine and other stimulants that can increase bladder activity and exacerbate incontinence symptoms.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame and saccharin are common artificial sweeteners that may irritate the bladder and worsen incontinence symptoms in some individuals.
  • Dairy products: Some aged and fermented cheeses, such as cheddar and blue cheese, may irritate the bladder due to their high fat and protein content.
  • Processed foods: Foods that are high in sugar, salt, and preservatives, such as fast food, snack foods, and pre-packaged meals, can irritate the bladder and contribute to incontinence symptoms.

By avoiding or limiting these foods and drinks, you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing incontinence symptoms and improve your overall bladder health. However, don’t worry if your favourite food, or drink is on this list. It's possible that they may not be contributing to your incontinence issues.

One easy way to identify whether a food or drink is irritating your bladder is to remove them from your diet for approximately 1 week, monitoring your symptoms to see if there are any changes. After that point, they can be re-introduced one at a time, checking for any changes in the urgency, frequency or intensity of incontinence against each re-addition.

If you notice a difference, you can eliminate that particular product from your diet, allowing you to tailor your dietary choices to your specific needs and support healthy bladder and bowel function.

It’s also common for people with incontinence to avoid drinking too much, minimising their liquid intake under the impression that it will lessen their incontinence symptoms. Ironically, dehydration can actually worsen incontinence. Without enough water, urine can become acidic, which can lead to further bladder irritation.

Even if you’re looking to cut out certain liquids that are linked to incontinence, it’s important to make sure your daily hydration levels remain consistent.

Smoking and Incontinence

Smoking and Incontinence

Smoking cigarettes is bad for incontinence because it can lead to bladder problems and increase the severity of incontinence symptoms. Smoking can also lead to other health issues that can indirectly impact incontinence, such as:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which can cause coughing fits and put pressure on the bladder, leading to incontinence.
  • Reduced blood flow to the bladder and pelvic area, which can weaken the muscles responsible for controlling urination and contribute to incontinence.
  • Increased risk of bladder cancer, which can lead to bladder removal surgery and permanent incontinence.

Quitting smoking can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Reducing the risk of developing bladder and other types of cancer.
  • Improving lung and heart health, which can decrease the likelihood of coughing fits and other conditions that can worsen incontinence symptoms.
  • Restoring blood flow to the bladder and pelvic area, which can help strengthen the muscles responsible for controlling urination and improve incontinence symptoms.

Quitting smoking will significantly benefit your general health, lower the risk of incontinence, and lessen the intensity of all incontinence symptoms.

Smoking and Incontinence

Additional Causes of Incontinence

There is a wide range of other factors that can cause incontinence or increase its intensity. If you’re experiencing incontinence, discussing your lifestyle and habits with your GP is one powerful way to gain insight into specific factors that may be contributing to your experiences.

  • Certain medications are more likely to contribute to issues with bladder control. High blood pressure drugs, certain heart medications, some antihistamines, sedatives, antidepressants, muscle relaxants and diuretics can all play a role in the severity of incontinence.
  • Carrying additional weight. Overweight or obese individuals are more likely to experience weight-related stress incontinence, as additional weight can create pressure on the abdomen and bladder.
  • Low levels of physical activity. Regular, brisk, low-impact activity is one way to lessen the impact of incontinence by promoting healthy weight, muscle stimulation and muscle strengthening.
  • Chronic coughs. If you’ve got a cough that’s lingering from a seasonal bug, this can contribute to ongoing urinary continence issues.
  • Constant straining during bowel movements can lead to damage to the pelvic floor. By maintaining a diet that supports healthy bowel movements and listening to your body’s natural cues, you can support healthy regularity that reduces the likelihood of constipation.
Practical Incontinence Aids

Practical Incontinence Aids

Even with lifestyle changes and improvements, incontinence still impacts millions of Australians on a daily basis. That’s why the right continence management products play such an important role in enabling people to live their best lives with confidence.

ConfidenceClub’s direct-to-door shipping gives you the best continence management products straight to your home. The option to set up regular deliveries makes it even easier to live life to the full. With pads for women, pads for men and sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large, ConfidenceClub delivers superior solutions to people experiencing incontinence of all ages and genders.

Find the full range of products you need to minimise the impact incontinence has on your daily life with ConfidenceClub’s range of customised products and accessories.

If you have any questions about our product range, you can speak to our customer service team 6 days a week, by calling 0800 088 5955 or emailing hello@confidenceclub.co.uk. We also have an online chat on our website. We’re here to help!

We hope this article has helped shed some light on the little-known triggers of urinary and bowel incontinence. Why not check out our other helpful articles while you’re here?

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Incontinence can be caused by a variety of underlying health conditions and is best diagnosed and treated by a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing incontinence, we strongly recommend that you consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.