Lifestyle: Foods and Drinks to Avoid with Bladder and Bowel Incontinence

Introduction

 

Suppose you have constipation or accidental leakage (incontinence) of stool or urine. In that case, dietary modifications may improve the symptoms linked to constipation and incontinence of stool or urine. Keeping a food diary helps identify what foods or drinks may cause these problems. Record the time of what you eat and drink. In addition, record the issues and the type of bowel movements. The information is minimally recorded for three to five days and links to what worsens the incontinence. Finding patterns will indicate what food and drinks to avoid or reduce to adjust your diet. This blog will provide an overview of food and drink modifications or avoidance to help prevent the leakage of urine and stool.

 

Foods & Drinks

Increases Bladder Urgency / Urination

Loosens Stool

Acidic Foods & Drinks X  
Alcoholic Beverages X  X
Caffeine X X   
Dairy   X   
Fructose   X   
Gluten   X   
Greasy and fatty foods   X   
Spicy foods   X   
Sweeteners: Artificial and ending in “ol”   X   

 

 

Optimizing Stool Consistency

The Bristol Stool Scale types three and four are easier to sense and control than loose or hard stools. Increasing dietary fiber and increasing water intake can improve constipation. In addition, laxatives may be added if needed. Increasing dietary fiber with antimotility medications can produce formed stool for individuals with loose stools. Psyllium, a dietary fiber supplement, may also be added for individuals with loose stools. A slow and gradual increase of fiber supplements is necessary to avoid bloating and gas.

 

High Fiber Foods

  • Whole grain bread and pasta
  • Oatmeal of wheat bran cereals
  • Cooked legumes (beans, lentils)
  • Seeds and Nuts (Flaxseed, almonds)
  • Fresh Fruits (apples, dates, prunes, peaches, pears, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
  • Fresh Vegetables (artichoke, pumpkin, baked potatoes with skin, squash, peas, leafy greens)

 

 

Fiber: Insoluble vs. Soluble

Insoluble fiber increases the water in the stool and adds bulk. In addition, bulky stools stimulate peristalsis, increase rectal distention, and improve sensory awareness. In addition, soft stools are easier to pass.

 

Obesity

Weight loss with dietary modification and exercise can also reduce the frequency of urinary leakage. Weight loss decreases the pressures on the pelvic floor muscles and bladder.

 

Conclusion

It is essential to talk to your health care provider about sensitive subjects such as urinary and fecal incontinence. In addition, verbal and written communication such as a dietary diary can aid in treating the condition, appropriate testing, and referral to a specialist. 

 

Disclaimer

The views and opinions stated in this blog are exclusively those of the author and do not reflect those of iWound, its affiliates, or partner companies.

 

Future Reading and References

 

Andy, U. U., Ejike, N., Khanijow, K. D., Flick, L. C., Markland, A. D., Arya, L. A., & Frasso, R. (2020). Diet Modifications in Older Women With Fecal Incontinence: A Qualitative Study. Female pelvic medicine & reconstructive surgery, 26(4), 239–243. https://doi.org/10.1097/SPV.0000000000000702

 

Bliss DZ, Savik K, Jung HJ, Whitebird R, Lowry A, Sheng X. Dietary fiber supplementation for fecal incontinence: a randomized clinical trial. Res Nurs Health. 2014 Oct;37(5):367-78. doi: 10.1002/nur.21616. Epub 2014 Aug 23. PMID: 25155992; PMCID: PMC4296893.

 

Brown, Heidi W. MD, MAS; Dyer, Keisha Y. MD; Rogers, Rebecca G. MD Management of Fecal Incontinence, Obstetrics & Gynecology: October 2020 – Volume 136 – Issue 4 – p 811-822

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004054 

 

Maserejian, N. N., Giovannucci, E. L., McVary, K. T., McGrother, C., & McKinlay, J. B. (2010). Dietary macronutrient and energy intake and urinary incontinence in women. American journal of epidemiology, 171(10), 1116–1125. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwq065

 

McRorie JW Jr, McKeown NM. Understanding the Physics of Functional Fibers in the Gastrointestinal Tract: An Evidence-Based Approach to Resolving Enduring Misconceptions about Insoluble and Soluble Fiber. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Feb;117(2):251-264. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.09.021. Epub 2016 Nov 15. PMID: 27863994.

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