To show our support for World Continence Week we would like to share some information about the some of the questions that many people have about continence.
What is the meaning of the word continence?
It comes from a Latin word that refers to control. It is used to describe control of bladder and bowels.
Who can be affected?
Continence problems can affect anyone – children, young people, adults and older people. However, due to embarrassment it can be difficult for those affected or their carers to talk about these problems and to ask for help. Continence problems are often treatable.
Are there any helpful tips for maintaining continence?
- Drinking water based drinks – about 1 ½ – 2 litres (6-8 glasses of water) is the right amount for most people. This helps to prevent constipation and keeps the bladder healthy. Drinking too little can make continence problems worse.
- Avoid fizzy drinks and drinks containing caffeine
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoiding constipation and treat it if it develops
- Pelvic floor exercises can prevent and reduce leaks for both men and women, but you may need to do these for several weeks before things start to improve. More information is available from your Health Care Practitioner.
- Do not smoke – coughing strains the pelvic floor muscles and can increase the likelihood of leaks
- Pilates and other similar exercise can strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can increase the pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles
What foods would/wouldn’t you recommend to help continence?
- Spicy and acidic foods might irritate the bladder and make incontinence worse.
- Avoid very salty or high protein foods before bed, as these increase the amount of urine that your kidneys make, so you will be more likely to have to wee overnight.
- Fruit and vegetables and foods containing fibre can help prevent constipation and therefore improve incontinence. However you need to drink plenty of water if you are eating cereal-based high fibre foods
Is there are cure or any treatments available for continence?
There are lots of different causes of incontinence and there are also many different treatments available. Therefore, if you or someone you care for suffers from incontinence see your GP or health care practitioner to discuss the problem. They will either undertake an assessment or refer you for one, so that you are offered the right treatment for you.
What support is available from Bladder & Bowel UK?
Bladder & Bowel UK is a national charity that provides information, advice and support to people who have bladder and bowel problems, to their carers and to professionals who work with them.