Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Healthy lifestyle practices can go a long way toward easing symptoms of stress incontinence.

  • Shed extra weight. If you're overweight — your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher — losing excess pounds can help reduce the overall pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Moderate weight loss may markedly help improve your stress incontinence. Talk to your doctor for guidance on weight loss.
  • Add fiber to your diet. If chronic constipation contributes to your urinary incontinence, keeping your bowel movements soft and regular reduces the strain that's placed on your pelvic floor muscles. Eat high-fiber foods — whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables — to help relieve and prevent constipation.
  • Avoid eating or drinking substances that can irritate your bladder. If you have mixed incontinence and you know that drinking coffee or tea (regular or decaf) throughout the day tends to make you urinate and leak more frequently, try stopping that drink, especially on days you really don't want to be bothered by leakage.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking can lead to a severe chronic cough, which can aggravate the symptoms of stress incontinence. Smoking is also associated with a drop in your oxygen carrying capacity, a factor thought to increase the risk of an overactive bladder. And smoking is associated with bladder cancer.
Feb. 07, 2013