Lifestyle advice

People suffering from incontinence encounter many problems in daily life. For example, there are social-emotional problems like shame. A few recommendations are given below that can help reduce your burden in daily life.
  • The right urinating position
  • Don't go too frequently
  • Drink enough water
  • Make sure you exercise
  • Prevention is better

Make sure to use the right position for urinating and defecating

The right urinating position is important to prevent complications. We distinguish between toilet positions for urinating (pee position) and defecating (poop position).

Pee position: it is important to sit upright so the urethra is positioned vertically. Most women slouch on the toilet. This tips the pelvis backwards, and the bladder also tilts, which leaves some urine behind. Certainly women who suffer cystitis repeatedly would do well to pay attention to their position. Emptying the bladder properly is promoted by a good toilet position and the correct use of the muscles.

Poop position: when defecating, or pooping, it is important to sit a bit slouched. This puts the rectum and anus in a vertical position.

Pelvic floor therapy can help to attain a good position on the toilet under the coaching of a healthcare professional.

Try not to go to the toilet too frequently

A healthy, adult bladder can hold 400 to 600 ml urine. When the bladder is about three-quarters full, it gives a signal (urge), and we know it is time to go to the toilet. If you drink two litres of fluid a day, you will have to go to the toilet about six to eight times.

You cannot prevent incontinence by going to the toilet more often. This can reduce the bladder capacity, so you have to go to the toilet even more often.

Drink at least 1.5 litres of water per day

A good flow through the urinary tract helps prevent complications and can ensure that the urine smells less. Concentrated urine can also irritate the bladder. Around 75% of the body consists of water. Water is important for the uptake of nutrients and the processing of waste, among other functions.

It is important to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day.

Normally, urine is colourless. If your urine is dark yellow, this is usually a sign that you are dehydrated. Other signs of not drinking enough are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle ache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling depressed
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea

Because water evaporates through transpiration and breathing, you urinate less than you drink.

Good to know: You cannot prevent incontinence by drinking less.

Make sure you get enough exercise

Enough exercise to keep the muscles in shape is needed for a properly functioning continence process. Moderately intensive exercise counts if your heart rate and breathing increase but talking is still possible. Walking, riding a bike, swimming calmly and the more strenuous household chores, like cleaning windows or working in the garden, fall in this category. Sitting, lying or standing activities during which you are upright or moving a little, like cooking, shopping or playing darts, do not count.

With very intensive exercise you breathe heavily, sometimes panting and puffing. Examples include running, cycling and sports like football and hockey.

For children up to 18 years old, the guideline is 1 hour per day of moderate or very intensive exercise. For adults, the guideline is 150 minutes per week.

Prevent overweight

A healthy eating and lifestyle pattern helps prevent and/or remedy various diseases. Overweight can cause incontinence. Is overweight a factor? Try to adjust your lifestyle. You can always call on a dietician for help.

Prevent constipation

Constipation can lead to incontinence, both urinary incontinence and faecal incontinence. Drinking enough and eating enough dietary fibres helps prevent constipation.

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