Are there certain drinks you should avoid if you have urine leakage? Can alcohol and caffeine make incontinence worse? In this article, we look at what to consider!
Urine leakage and alcohol
Most people know that drinking too much alcohol affects your brain function. Since the brain is involved in the bladder emptying mechanism, drinking alcohol also impairs continence. In addition, alcohol itself is a diuretic and increases urine production, so it is not surprising that when under the influence of alcohol, you may have an extra need to urinate and find it difficult to hold it for as long as normal. It may also be that when you drink alcohol, you drink more fluids than you normally do, which of course makes you need to pee more often!
Incontinence and coffee
It is not only alcohol that is a diuretic, but also caffeine, which is found in both tea and coffee. If you have incontinence and drink a lot of coffee or tea, it can therefore aggravate the problem and make you need to pee more often. However, remember to only pee when you really need to and not just for "safety". Peeing unnecessarily often can lead to symptoms of urgency, i.e. feeling a sudden need to pee without having time to go to the toilet.
If you are in menopause, there is an additional reason to avoid drinking too much caffeine as it can also make menopausal symptoms worse. Read more about the menopause and tips for relieving symptoms here.
Drink when you are thirsty!
Typically, a healthy adult needs between 1.5-2 litres of fluid per day. Your body is amazing and the kidneys ensure that the excess fluid is converted into urine, which we then urinate out. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink when you are thirsty. Another tip is to look at the amount of urine and its colour. If your urine is light yellow and you urinate a few times a day, you are probably getting enough fluid. Symptoms of insufficient fluid intake can include dark concentrated urine and headaches.
We often drink in advance, such as a cup of coffee with an afternoon snack or water with food, but trying to drink in advance of a sporting event, for example, is futile as the body cannot store excess water.
If you are older, you may not feel thirsty in the same way as before. In addition, the number of sweat glands, the body's natural cooling system, decreases so that sweating does not work in the same way as when the body was younger. As a result, older people may need to rehydrate regularly, for example during a heatwave, as dehydration is both painful and uncomfortable. This can be easily avoided by staying hydrated.
Want to learn more about urinary incontinence? Read more here about what it is, who is affected and why.