Should I Reduce Fluid Intake To Control My Incontinence?
There is something inherently cruel about Incontinence, in that it makes those people who suffer from it feel very isolated. Rightly or wrongly sufferers feel embarrassed to discuss their situation, their concerns, worries, and problems even with their GP or partner. Many people ask the internet to be their doctor, in the hope that they can find a solution or answer without any embarrassment.
That might be the reason why you have ended up here today. Perhaps after a sleepless night, you have come up with your eureka moment and that perhaps lowering the volume of liquids you drink could be the perfect solution.
It probably will not surprise you to know that you are not the first person to come up with the idea, and no doubt you won’t be the last either. Unfortunately, there is a flawed argument in your logic, which we will explain during the rest of this article.
What Are The Medical Causes Of Incontinence?
Incontinence is not a disease or illness but rather a symptom of an underlying problem. There are many different reasons that can cause incontinence, so let's look at a few of the most common ones:
- Childbirth - One of the many side effects of giving birth can be incontinence. The process of delivery puts significant stress on the muscles that are responsible for bladder control, and can potentially also damage the nerve endings. This can and does occasionally mean that certain women have less bladder control than before. As you might expect, the volume of liquid that you consume will have little or no bearing on this type of incontinence, as it is a physical problem, rather than anything to do with the amount of liquid consumed.
- Age-Related Incontinence- Whether we like to admit it or not, as our bodies age and certain muscles become weaker. Incontinence is much more prevalent in older generations, and much though we hate to say it, is one of the negative aspects many of us will have to face as we age. Once again this is a physical problem that will remain unaffected by the amount of liquid consumed.
- Menopause – As ladies go through the menopause, they naturally start to produce less oestrogen. One of the primary functions of oestrogen is to help maintain the lining of the bladder and the urethra in good condition. After the menopause, the reduced amount of oestrogen in a ladies body means that some of these tissues may deteriorate slightly. This in turn can then aggravate incontinence.
- Hysterectomy – A woman's reproductive system is, as you might expect closely linked to her bladder. Many of the same muscles and ligaments which are connected to the bladder will be affected when a hysterectomy is completed. The removal of the uterus, for instance, may potentially cause damage to the supporting pelvic floor muscles. Once again this can then cause incontinence issues further down the line.
- Enlarged Prostate - It is not only women who can suffer from incontinence, for men, an enlarged prostate, can be one of the most frequent causes. Once again this is a physical condition and so reducing your fluid intake will have minimal effect.
As you can see and without wishing to push home the point, reducing the quantity of liquid you consume will have virtually no effect on any of the physical issues mentioned above, but there are even more reasons why lowering your fluid intake is a bad idea.
Reducing Fluid Intake Can Create Problems Rather Than Solve Them
The theory, of course, makes perfect sense, if you consume less liquid, then there is less urine produced which should assist the problem. Unfortunately, while that aspect of the argument is correct, there are other factors that you are not taking into consideration.
Your body requires a certain volume of water to function properly, and by reducing that amount, you are effectively increasing the concentration of urine. When you do not drink enough water, your urine colour will become a darker yellow, and it will also begin to smell a lot more pungent.
Once you reach this stage, due to the increased strength of the urine, it will now cause irritation to the bladder. This then becomes more magnified as rather than needing to go less frequently, as you might expect, it has the opposite effect; you will want to go more often and will also be more prone to bladder infections.
It is critical to keep your body properly hydrated to prevent other problems. Think of water as the equivalent of a top-quality oil in your car. When that oil becomes low, or too thick, damage is caused to your vehicle, and the same applies to insufficient water in your body. In fact, another problem of drinking too little can be constipation, which in turn can cause incontinence itself.
In theory consuming less liquid to help counter incontinence sounds like an excellent idea which should have a lot of merit. Nothing could be further from the truth, and reducing your fluid intake, rather than solving your problems could create many more.