Lifestyle and Behavioral Changes ‚Äč

Improving Urinary Urgency, Frequency and Urge Incontinence


Manage your Fluid Intake

There is no scientific evidence that states we need eight 8 oz. glasses (64 oz.) of fluid every day.  Remember, what goes in must come out.  Many women, unless you exercise heavily or work in hot conditions can drink less than 64 oz. per day.  In 2004, the Institutes of Medicine reported that most people meet their daily hydration needs by letting their thirst be their guide.  You must also remember that we get additional fluids from our diets in the form of soups, stews, fruits, etc.  It has been shown that we get as much as 20% of our daily fluids from our diet. 

If you are used to drinking large amounts of fluids every day and you are bothered by how frequently you need to go to the bathroom, these suggestions may help you:

  • Don't carry a water bottle or large container of fluid around with you
  • Use a smaller glass or cup
  • Take small sips of fluids instead of large gulps
  • If your mouth is dry, try sugar-free gum or candy

Try spreading out fluids during the day instead of drinking large amounts at a one time.  This is especially important before leaving the house.  If you get up to void more than 2 times per night, you should limit your drinking after dinner. 


Avoid Fluids That Can be Bladder Irritants

Some chemicals in our beverages can behave as diuretics and bladder irritants.  If you are sensitive to these chemicals, they may cause you to make large amounts of urine or may aggravate bladder spasms resulting in a more frequent need to urinate.  Some common bladder irritants include:

  • Caffeine - Try to stop or at least reduce your caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and cola to see if your bladder control improves.  If you drink a lot of caffeine, you should taper down slowly to avoid a caffeine withdrawal headache.
  • Artificial Sweeteners - Beverages that contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame or saccharin can also be a bladder irritant.  Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew or Coke are especially problematic because they contain artificial sweetener and caffeine.
  • Citrus Juice - Some people find that juices like orange or grapefruit juice can also irritate their bladder.  Although there are no scientific studies to prove this, the best thing to do is to stop the suspected irritant for a week or two and see if it makes a difference.