Urinary incontinence - Prevention 

Preventing urinary incontinence 

It is not always possible to prevent urinary incontinence, but a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of the condition developing.

Weight

Being obese increases your risk of urinary incontinence. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet. Use the healthy weight calculator to see if you are a healthy weight for your height.

Drinking

Depending on your particular bladder problem, your GP can advise you about the amount of fluids that you should drink. 

If you have urinary incontinence, cut down on alcohol and drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee and cola. These can cause your kidneys to produce more urine and irritate your bladder.

The recommended daily limits for alcohol consumption are:

  • three to four units a day for men
  • two to three units a day for women

A unit of alcohol is roughly half a pint of normal-strength lager, a small glass of wine or a single measure (25ml) of spirits.

Read more about drinking and alcohol.

If you have to urinate frequently during the night (nocturia), try drinking less in the hours before you go to bed. However, make sure you still drink enough fluids during the day.

Exercise

Keeping active is a very important part of leading a healthy lifestyle and can help prevent several serious health conditions, including urinary incontinence. Do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week. 

Read more about getting active.

Being pregnant and giving birth can weaken the muscles that control the flow of urine from your bladder. If you are pregnant, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help prevent urinary incontinence. 

Read more about staying active during pregnancy.

Men can also benefit from strengthening their pelvic floor muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises. Find out more about pelvic floor exercises.


Page last reviewed: 21/09/2012

Next review due: 21/09/2014

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