A healthy diet rich in dietary fibre to avoid constipation. We need at least 30gm of fibre each day. Eat at least 2‐3 serves of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables and 5 serves of cereals and breads. It is important to get the balance right as just adding fibre to your diet without increasing your fluids can cause or make constipation worse. If you continue to have constipation, see your doctor.
Drink adequate fluids to quench your thirst. Speak to your doctor about how much fluid intake is right for you. Water is the best fluid as this can help stop bladder irritation and improve bowel function (which can affect bladder control). Be aware that recommended fluid intake varies with hotter weather, more exercise and other health conditions.
Aim to exercise for 30 minutes most days. Remember that walking is great exercise.
Keep your pelvic floor muscles strong
Your pelvic floor muscles give you control over your bladder and bowel. Squeeze and draw up your pelvic floor muscles to control the urgency to go to the toilet. When you feel the urge to pass urine (wee) or open your bowels (poo), stop, stand still or sit down on a firm seat. Squeeze and draw up your pelvic floor muscles. Think about something else rather than the urge. The urge should diminish or go away at this point so you can get to the toilet without rushing.
Go to the toilet when your bladder feels full or when you get the urge to open your bowels. Do not get into the habit of going ‘just in case’. Take time to completely empty your bladder and bowel. To get into the correct sitting position on the toilet: sit on the toilet, elbows on knees, lean forward and support your feet on a footstool. To avoid kidney damage, if you think your bladder is not emptying completely talk to your doctor or diabetes nurse.
In many cases incontinence can be prevented, better managed and even cured. Talk to your doctor or contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.
The National Continence Helpline is staffed by Nurse Continence Specialists who offer free and confidential information, advice and support. They also provide a wide range of continence-related resources and referrals to local services.