There are lots of things you can do to keep your bladder healthy and to manage bladder symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids
Try to drink at least two litres (four pints) a day. That’s about eight glasses. Drink even more if it’s hot or if you’re exercising.
Not drinking enough will make symptoms worse, not better. Concentrated urine irritates the bladder. Drinking more will reduce symptoms of bladder irritation and train your bladder to hold more urine. It also reduces your risk of getting urine infections.
Drink the right fluids
Some drinks can irritate the bladder and make symptoms worse. Cut down on or avoid:
- alcohol (especially spirits)
- fizzy drinks
- drinks that contain caffeine (such as tea, coffee, cola and cocoa)
- acidic drinks (such as fresh orange and grapefruit juice)
- drinks with artificial sweeteners (diet or light).
Try drinking water, diluted fruit juice and herbal teas
Try not to go to the toilet ‘just in case’
If you go to the toilet as a precaution, the bladder won’t fill completely and won’t get used to holding more urine.
If you smoke, ask your family doctor about getting help to give up.
The chemicals in cigarette smoke irritate and damage the lining of the bladder and can make your symptoms worse. Smoking is also a major risk factor for cancer and for other serious health conditions.
You may find our information on Giving up smoking helpful.
Avoid putting extra pressure on your pelvic floor muscles
Keep your weight within healthy limits and avoid constipation and heavy lifting. This is especially important if you have stress incontinence.
Find ways of reducing stress
Feeling anxious can make you feel as if you need to pass urine and can make your symptoms worse.