Lifestyle and diet can play a role in stress or urge incontinence, and, in fact, making healthy changes can have a positive impact on reducing your symptoms.
Overweight women have a greater risk of incontinence than women with an ideal body weight. Studies have shown that overweight women with incontinence who lose weight can actually reduce episodes of leakage. One study demonstrated that women who exercised and lost just 10% of their body weight reduced their leakage by half and maintained these results for six months.
Smoking causes chronic coughing, so those who smoke may experience leakage because of the recurrent, downward pressure that is created on the bladder each time they cough. Smoking cessation is an approach to reduce or eliminate episodes of leakage that will also create additional benefits to your overall health and well-being.
Some foods and beverages may exacerbate your symptoms. Juices and sauces that have a lot of acid or foods and beverages containing caffeine may increase urination. Caffeine may also make your bladder more active. Try to avoid or cut down on the foods and beverages that make your symptoms worse. Or, plan times to enjoy your favorites with less worry. For example, you could plan to have your morning coffee on weekends when you'll be home most of the day, but you may want to avoid it when planning a longer car trip or other outings when you know a bathroom will not be nearby.
Beverages that may make your symptoms worse include: