Though it may be unavoidable, you can follow some guidelines to lower your risk of developing this troublesome condition.
1. Watch your weight. Particularly with women, overweight and incontinence go hand in hand. One explanation is that abdominal fat weakens the pelvic floor muscles and leads to stress incontinence (leaking urine when laughing, sneezing, etc.).
2. Don’t smoke. Besides being a life-threatening habit, smoking doubles the likelihood that a woman will develop stress incontinence and even urge incontinence (the sense that you need to urinate even when the bladder isn’t full).
3. Stay active. According to the Nurses’ Health Study, the least likely middle-aged women to develop incontinence are those who were most physically active.
4. Minimize bladder irritants. Caffeine and alcohol are linked to urge incontinence in some persons, as are spicy foods and citrus fruits and juices.
5. Don’t strain with bowel movements. Straining weakens the pelvic floor muscles.
In a study involving people ages 65 and older, treating constipation improved urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency and burning.
Increasing fiber intake and drinking sufficient fluid can help prevent constipation.
Source: Harvard Medical School Healthbeat, March 9, 2013