Diet And Incontinence

A healthy diet is important for health and wellbeing. In addition, a healthy diet aids a healthy bladder and bowel. If the bladder and bowel are functioning efficiently it aids the release of toxins from the body and metabolism. It is important therefore to understand how to maintain a healthy bladder and bowel.

An individual should have a regular intake of food and drink throughout waking hours. Three meals a day maintain and encourage a healthy metabolism that aids energy levels and weight control.

To maintain a healthy bowel is it essential to have a diet based upon a balanced diet that contains essential groups of food including protein, carbohydrates, dairy, fruit and vegetables.

Use the following link to review your diet in line with national guidelines:

Everyone needs to eat fibre to stimulate the movement of food throughout the bowel and to stimulate a bowel movement and complete bowel emptying. Proactively reducing the risk of constipation.

The Department of Health recommends a daily intake of 18-30g fibre per 24 hours for adults.

Do you achieve this?  

Pasta, cereals and rice are all examples of good sources of fibre. When choosing, carbohydrates choose wholegrain or brown options to ensure a healthy fibre intake.

Example of fibre content of everyday foods:

    • Baked potato (skin on) 2.6g,
    • 2 slices of wholemeal bread 6g,
    • Apple 1.2g
    • 200g portion of baked beans 9.8g

Alongside a healthy diet and healthy fluid intake is necessary as this, also, aids transport of waste through the bowel and maintains kidney and bladder health. A healthy fluid intake should be around 1.5 litres of fluid per 24 hours this will aid regular emptying of the bladder and prevention of cystitis and urine tract infections.

How much fluid do you drink per 24 hours?

If you have a sensitive bladder it is important that you avoid caffeinated and carbonated drinks as these can contribute to a sensitive bladder. Drinks that do not cause adverse effects on the bladder are water, dilute cordials and milk. Decaffeinated tea and coffee are ok too.

Weight gain can seriously affect bladder function by contributing to stress incontinence, leakage of urine on exertion, and urge incontinence, leakage associated with an overwhelming urgency to pass urine. Excess weight affects the performance of the pelvic floor muscles in their function of support to the bladder and bowel increasing the risk of bladder and bowel dysfunction including incontinence.

Be aware that any changes to your diet (even if this is a healthy weight loss diet) may influence your bladder and bowel due to fibre content and diuretic properties within some foods.

Food for thought!

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