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Incontinence FAQs (cont.)

What causes incontinence?

Several factors contribute to incontinence. Many causes can be treated, thus eliminating symptoms of incontinence. Some causes are gender-specific, meaning that they occur in males or females exclusively. Among the known causes and contributing factors for incontinence are the following:

Difficulties with toilet training in childhood have nothing to do with incontinence occurring later in life. Having an incontinent parent does not automatically mean a person will suffer with incontinence later in life.

What lifestyle and health factors reduce the likelihood of incontinence?

The following lifestyle habits can help you maintain bladder and urinary health:

  • Urinate regularly, and do not delay having bowel movements.
  • Drink adequate fluids, 6-8 cups a day, to maintain a urinary output of 50 ounces per day, more if you are exercising or sweating due to hot weather.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight (body mass index < 25).
  • Eat a healthy diet low in fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Limit consumption of spicy foods, chocolate, and citrus or acidic fruits.
  • Exercise regularly. Kegel exercises (exercises that strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor) also help women strengthen muscles used during urination.
Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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