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NHS Choices Condition

Content supplied by NHS Choices

It is not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence. However, there are a number of things that you can do to decrease the risk of developing the condition.


Maintaining a healthy weight for your height and build by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and taking plenty of regular exercise, may help you to avoid getting urinary incontinence.


Eating a healthy, balanced diet that including at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables, plus plenty of fibre, will help you prevent getting constipated. Constipation is a risk factor for urinary incontinence. If you have urinary incontinence, you should avoid eating foods that make your condition worse.


Depending on your particular bladder problem, your GP will be able to advise you about the amount of water that you should drink. If you have urinary incontinence, you should also cut down on alcohol and drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola. These are diuretics which cause your kidneys to produce more urine, and they can also irritate your bladder.

The recommended daily amount of alcohol is 3-4 units, for men, and 2-3 units, for women. One unit of alcohol is equal to half a pint of normal strength beer, one small glass of wine, or a single pub measure of spirit.

If you have to urinate frequently during the night (nocturia) try not to drink any fluids for three hours before you go to bed.


Keeping active is a very important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and it can help to prevent a number of serious health conditions, including urinary incontinence. Make sure that you do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week.

Being pregnant and giving birth can weaken the muscle that controls the flow of urine from your bladder (urinary sphincter). Therefore if you are pregnant, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help to prevent urinary incontinence.

Men can also benefit from strengthening their pelvic floor muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises.


If you smoke, your risk of developing urge incontinence is increased. Therefore, you should try to give up. Your GP will be able to provide you with advice about quitting smoking. Alternatively, you can call the NHS smoking helpline number on 0800 022 4332 for information and advice.

view information about Incontinence urinary on www.nhs.co.uk »

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