When you have incontinence, you’ll do anything to avoid having an embarrassing accident. And it may seem logical to think that restricting fluids will help you avoid one. While cutting back a little may help, it also may hurt you. Drinking too little can cause dehydration, which means your body can’t function like it should. When you don’t drink enough your urine also can become very concentrated, which can cause bladder irritation (meaning that it may actually cause you to have an accident). And, if you do leak, concentrated urine has a much stronger smell, which may make your leak more noticeable to others. The tip is finding that right balance between too much and too little. Below are some tips on how much you should be drinking, and how to find your magic number.
Drink Enough To Stay Hydrated.
This will vary from person to person, but for most, 6-8oz glasses per day is enough. You can also look to your own urine for clues on if you are well-hydrated – in general, lighter colored urine means you're more hydrated and darker, yellow colored urine means your urine is very concentrated and you may need to drink more.
Use A Bladder Diary.
A bladder diary is a great tool to track the relationship between what you eat and drink and your incontinence. Use it for a few days and pay close attention to how your fluid intake plays a role in any accidents or urges you may have. This will give you a good indication on whether or not your drinking too much or too little as it relates to your incontinence.
Limit Fluids Before Bedtime.
If you suffer from nocturia or bedwetting, try limiting the fluids you drink before bedtime. While you don’t want to limit your water intake too much throughout the day, keeping fluids to a minimum an hour or so before bed may help curb some of the nightly bathroom trips you’ve been making.
Pay attention to what you drink.
Water is always a good choice, but other drinks may actually cause you to go more simply because of what’s in them. Minimize caffeinated, sugary and carbonated drinks. And decrease or eliminate alcohol consumption. All of these have been known to irritate the bladder.
If you’re thirsty – DRINK!
Cutting back on fluids, especially when you’re thirsty, can cause dehydration and lead to more problems. Your body needs water to function well and thirst is the number one indicator that you need to drink more. Keep this in mind especially when it’s hot outside, or you’re working up a sweat in the gym – listen to your body and never put off your thirst because you’re scared of having an accident.
Remember, everyone is different so there is no one right amount that you should be drinking. Experiment and find out what works best for you, and most importantly, pay attention to your body and stay healthy.
Want to learn about some ways to fit more water into your daily routine? Read this: How To Drink More Water