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Bladder problems: ways to help yourself

If you are experiencing persistent problems with your bladder, you should always seek medical advice. However, there are some steps you can take which may ease your symptoms. Your GP or continence adviser might also recommend some of these.

  • Drink plenty of water. Many people with urinary incontinence think that cutting down on the amount of water they drink will help. However, if you don’t drink enough, your urine will become very concentrated, and your bladder will get used to holding less. Aim to drink six to eight cups of liquid a day. 

  • Cut down on tea and coffee. Caffeine can increase the amount of urine produced. Fizzy drinks and alcoholic drinks can also upset your bladder. 

  • Eat foods that contain fibre. A lack of fibre can lead to constipation, which causes a full bowel to press on the bladder. Foods rich in fibre include wholemeal bread, pasta and rice, pulses, fruit and vegetables. 

  • Give up smoking. If you smoke, try to give up, as coughing can cause more leakage. 

  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Being overweight can put pressure on your bladder.

  • Do regular pelvic floor exercises. These exercises can be very effective for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles and easing the symptoms of stress and urge incontinence. Pelvic floor exercises can be tricky and you may need professional medical advice to ensure you are doing them correctly. For more information on pelvic floor exercises, see our free guide Managing incontinence

  • Retrain your bladder. If you have urge incontinence, your GP or other health professional might advise you to try bladder retraining. 

  • See if your bladder problem is linked to the medicines you take. Some medicines, such as diuretics, disturb the bladder. However, do not stop taking any medicines without consulting your GP. 

If you need more information about how to manage your bladder problem, visit our further information section.


For more information about the bladder and associated incontinence please visit our Common Bladder Problems and How the bladder works pages.

For information on getting help with your symptoms please visit our Where to get help page.