Urinary Incontinence in Men (cont.)
You may reduce your chances of developing urinary incontinence by:
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol.
- Keeping your weight down. (For more information, see the topic Weight Management.)
- Quitting smoking. (For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.)
- Avoiding constipation by eating a healthy, high-fiber diet.
- Doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that control the flow of urine.
In many cases, behavioral changes, including changes to your diet, lifestyle, and urinary habits, can be enough to control urinary incontinence.
The following changes to diet and lifestyle may help reduce incontinence:
- Reduce or eliminate caffeinated and carbonated drinks-such as coffee, tea, and soda pop-from your diet.
- Do not drink more than one alcohol drink a day.
- Try to identify any foods that might irritate your bladder-including citrus fruits, chocolate, tomatoes, vinegars, spicy foods, dairy products, and aspartame-and eat less of those foods.
- If you smoke, quit. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
- Avoid constipation:
- Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fiber.
- Drink enough fluids. Don't avoid drinking fluid because you are worried about leaking urine.
- Get some exercise every day. Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
- Take a fiber supplement with psyllium (such as Metamucil) or methylcellulose (such as Citrucel) daily. Start with a small dose and very slowly increase the dose over a month or more.
- Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Having a daily routine may help. Take your time and do not strain when having a bowel movement.
- If you are overweight, try to lose some weight. Remember that effective weight-loss programs depend on a combination of diet and exercise. For more information, see the topics Weight Management and Fitness.
- Try pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
The following changes to urinary habits may help reduce incontinence:
- Set a schedule for urinating every 2 to 4 hours, regardless of whether you feel the need.
- Practice "double voiding" by urinating as much as possible, relaxing for a few moments, and then urinating again.
- If you have trouble reaching the bathroom before you urinate, consider making a clearer, quicker path to the bathroom and wearing clothes that are easily removed (such as those with elastic waistbands or Velcro closures). Or keep a urinal close to your bed or chair.
Talk with your doctor about all the medicines you take, including nonprescription medicines, to see whether any of them may be making your incontinence worse. Medicines that may cause urinary incontinence in men include certain antidepressants, sedatives, and even some allergy and cold medicines.