Eating Right for the Unexpected Leak: Water

The benefits of drinking water seem to be endless. Whether you’ve heard them from your doctor, best friend or favorite daytime talk show, the reasons for getting enough H2O are quite convincing.

However, if you experience the Unexpected Leak, you may be hesitant about drinking lots of fluids. As it turns out, staying hydrated is actually extremely important for those with weak bladders. Water is pure and your body uses it to flush out excess bacteria and acids. Without it, urine can become concentrated and your bladder can get irritated. But before we go deeper into how and why drinking lots of water is beneficial for those with the Unexpected Leak™, allow us to recap its goodness when it comes to your overall health. It’s important to think of water as the nutrient your body needs to replace the large amounts of fluids you lose each day. When your water intake doesn’t equal your output, you run the risk of dehydration. As fluid loss occurs continuously from breathing, sweat, urine and stool, it’s essential to replace these lost nutrients. Here are a few key reasons to drink water and stay hydrated:

  • Helps maintain the balance of body fluids:
    It can be hard to believe that your body is composed of roughly 60% water! These bodily fluids are responsible for facilitating digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, maintenance of body temperature and transportation of nutrients. With all the work that water is doing in your body, it’s clear how thirst can be such an uncontrollable urge.
  • Energizes Muscles:
    Ever notice how your muscles cramp up when you’re dehydrated? When muscles lose their balance of fluids and electrolytes, they shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. It’s recommended that you drink about 17 ounces of fluid about 2 hours before you exercise in order to ensure your muscles stay hydrated and function properly.
  • Controls calories:
    Although water isn’t directly responsible for weight loss, it is a non-caloric fluid that should replace high calorie drinks such as soda and sugary juices. As water is a healthier, more filling option, you can trim your calorie intake and in turn assist in weight loss. So, next time you’re out for a meal, go for water instead of cola. Your body will thank you.
  • Keeps skin looking healthy:
    As your skin contains a high concentration of water, it’s important to keep hydrated to avoid it becoming dry and wrinkled. So rather than spending a pretty penny of anti-aging creams, simply drink plenty of fluids in combination with using your favorite moisturizer.

What happens if you don’t drink enough water?

Although it may sound counterintuitive to someone who suffers from bladder weakness, drinking water in moderation is truly beneficial. One of the worst things you can do is avoid fluids and dehydrate yourself with the hopes of evading leakage. To reassure you about this fact, it may be helpful to explain what happens when you don’t get enough water throughout the day. As mentioned earlier, your body is filled with fluids and if you don’t replenish these fluids, the result can be dehydration. When this happens, your urine becomes extremely concentrated, which can lead to irritation. How can you tell if you’re dehydrated? Your urine will be dark, cloudy and have a strong odor to it. Concentrated urine often results in irritation in the form of pain or burning while urinating. An irritated bladder also increases urgency, and as we all know, this is bad news for those suffering from incontinence. It’s frustrating to always be on the lookout for the nearest restroom! And when you’re bladder is irritated due to dehydration, this worry will worsen as your urges are enhanced. Another embarrassing factor can be the strong odor that occurs with concentrated urine. It’s also important to fully empty your bladder as this helps flush out your system as well as reduce the frequency of trips to the restroom.

Water it down

To help combat the above issues, it’s crucial to find the right amount of water intake. While not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration, drinking too much can cause excessive leaks. So, it’s extremely important to find a healthy balance of fluid intake. In terms of how much you should drink in a day, there is no exact answer. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. Another general guideline is to drink when you’re thirsty. However, try to not drink anything 2-4 hours before going to bed in order to reduce the chance of leaks at night.

Here’s why water is so important when it comes to bladder weakness:

It’s great for your kidneys: One of the main reasons that water intake benefits bladder weakness is that body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. And when you’re getting enough fluids, urine can flow freely. This is evident when your urine is pale in color and odorless. Also, the main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, which is a water-soluble waste that passes through the kidneys in order to be expelled in the urine. When hydrated, your kidneys are effective in cleansing your body of toxins and bacteria.

How to stay hydrated

Getting a sufficient amount of fluids throughout the day shouldn’t have to be difficult. There are a few simple tips that will keep you hydrated and help you avoid an irritated bladder.

  • Be sure to drink fluids with every snack and meal.
    At breakfast, lunch, dinner and every little snack in between, ensure that you’re complementing each meal with a glass of water.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
    Drinking water isn’t the only way to keep hydrated. There a lot of fruits and vegetables with high water content that will add to your hydration. In fact, about 20% of your fluid intake comes from food. Some fruits and veggies contain as much as 90% water! So, your favorite healthy snack can be a great way to keep your level of body fluids high. Here are the top fruits by H2O content:
  • Always have a bottle of water with you.
    Whether it’s at your desk, in your car or in your bag, the easiest way to get enough water is to constantly be sipping. Make it a habit!
  • Drink beverages you enjoy.
    If plain water doesn’t excite your taste buds, there’s no need to worry. There are simple ways to spice up your H2O. Whether it’s adding fresh mint leaves or squeezing in a splash of lemon or lime, there a plenty of easy recipes to make water exciting and delicious. Visit Pinterest for a plethora of flavored water recipes. Serve it in a Mason jar for a healthy serving.

Brit + Co have come up with even more refreshingly delicious ways to stay hydrated by sprucing up your water. To get inspired, read on here.

Looking for some more tips on how keep your fluid intake game on point? Try some of these:

  • Every time you walk by a water cooler, be sure to stop and take a sip
  • Add ice cubes to your water as this helps burn calories as your body works to bring the water temperature up once consumed
  • Or, if you simply want to make ice cubes a little more interesting, try freezing little bits of peeled lemons, limes and oranges in replace of the traditional cubes. This is another simple way to give your water a kick
  • Drink some water after each trip to restroom to help replenish your fluid level
  • Get a reusable water bottle and filtration system to avoid spending a fortune on water bottles. You’ll help save the environment as well. Here are some of the best reusable water bottles out there.
  • Try adding water to the fruit juices you love. Whether it’s orange juice or lemonade, these beverages are often quite sweet and watering them down will help dilute them
  • Start tracking your water intake. The more you take note, the more motivated you’ll be to increase your hydration to healthy levels. You can also make a fun game out of it with family and friends. A little healthy competition never hurt

As you can see, the benefits of water are seemingly endless. However, keeping hydrated is especially important when it comes to bladder weakness. Sufficient water intake is essential in replenishing your bodily fluids, which in turn help the kidneys cleanse your body from toxins that are excreted in the urine. Although drinking water can’t solve your leakage problems completely, it sure can help keep your urine clear and odorless and keep your bladder from getting irritated. In combination with healthy hydration, we suggest using incontinence products. Not only will the right product help you feel protected, it will allow you to keep living the life you’ve always wanted. From liners to pads and underwear, a trusted brand like TENA® offers products for every absorbency need that are discreet enough to fit your lifestyle.

Great product! Small but lots of protection when needed.

“ Great product! Small but lots of protection when needed. ”

- TENA® Customer in Waterloo, Ontario

Helpful Resources

Incontinence and Fitness

Product Reviews