Skip to main content
Home » Bladder and bowel » Five self-help tips for leaky bladders
Bladder and bowel Q4 2022

Five self-help tips for leaky bladders

iStock / Getty Images Plus / laflor

Janet Place

Urology Nurse Practitioner, British Association of Urological Nurses (BAUN)

Urinary incontinence is bladder leakage that you can’t control. It is thought that one in four people will suffer with urinary incontinence at some point in their life, and many people suffer in silence because they feel too embarrassed to seek help.

Whether you can’t get to the loo in time or it’s exercising or sneezing causing leaks, this article may help you.

Tip 1. Drink enough fluids

Many people who experience leaky bladders will drink less water than is recommended. Dehydration will make your urine more concentrated, which in turn can irritate your bladder and make incontinence worse. Not only that, but dehydration can also cause constipation, which can make your bladder leak more. If you want to increase your water intake, try taking small sips of water throughout the day, or aim to tick off eight glasses of water per day.

Tip 2. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol

Some food and drinks can irritate the lining of your bladder, making you have to rush to the toilet — and sometimes not making it in time. The top two triggers are caffeine and alcohol. You may want to try eliminating these from your diet for just two weeks to see if you notice any improvement in your leakage. If you do, try to eliminate them for good.

You don’t have to keep letting your
leaky bladder affect your quality of life.

Tip 3. Practice pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises can help improve urinary incontinence by strengthening the muscles that support your bladder. This is true for both men and women. Simply squeeze your pelvic floor muscles (these are the same muscles you use if you try to stop the flow of your pee) for a count of three, and then slowly release for another count of three. If you can try to do 10 to 15 of these squeezes, three times a day — you will likely notice your bladder control improving within six weeks.

Tip 4. Lose a little weight

Carrying extra weight can put stress and pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, which can then make your urinary incontinence worse. If you think you are overweight, you may be able to lessen your bladder leaks by losing a little of the extra weight.

Tip 5. Seek help

You do not have to suffer in silence — help is available. You don’t have to keep letting your leaky bladder affect your quality of life. Make an appointment with your doctor for a diagnosis and personalised treatment plan.

Next article