• Frequently Asked Questions About Incontinence

    Why do I have to get up at night at least once, if not twice, to urinate? I only have a cup of tea to drink after dinner.

    As we age, our bodies make a lot of urine during the nighttime. It is perfectly normal to need to urinate once or twice during the night. Often, when you are young, you can sleep through the night without needing to get up.

    It is normal for your kidneys to make as much as one to one and a half liters of urine a night. This is about half to three-quarters of a soda bottle! If getting up at night bothers you, you can try to cut back on fluids after you have dinner. However, do not cut back on daytime fluids.

    Tea with caffeine also acts as a diuretic (makes you urinate more) and can irritate your bladder giving you the urge to urinate. As you get older, your bladder capacity can decrease, and therefore, you cannot hold as much urine.

    Talk with your doctor about your concerns. Getting up more than twice a night for seniors can be a sign of a bladder control problem. Your doctor can give you other information about the impact of diet and fluids on bladder control. Your physician can also teach you about dietary modification methods to help with frequency or incontinence symptoms.

    How much fluid or water should I drink in a day?

    There is a popular myth that everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day. For many people that is too much fluid, especially for those with a bladder control problem. On the other hand, if you are very active and perspire through exercise, you may need to drink more fluids. Consult your physician for appropriate guidance.

    The color of your urine is a good indication of whether or not you are drinking enough fluids. (Please note, however, that vitamin supplements may alter urine color, causing it to differ from these guidelines.) If your urine is a dark orange/yellow, you may not be drinking enough. Concentrated urine is very irritating to the bladder and can worsen symptoms of urgency and urge incontinence. Conversely, if your urine is pale, almost water-like, you are taking in plenty of fluids. However, if your frequency of urination begins to increase, it could mean that you are taking in too much fluid.  

    I am not sure what kind of containment products or pads to use for my incontinence problem.

    There are presently a wide variety of pads available to assist people with bladder control problems. These pads vary from thin liners to shields or guards and full adult diapers. There are pads that are also tailored to men or women.

    Look for a pad that is sufficient for the leakage that you have. Guidelines printed on the packages or on the display at the store indicate the amount of urine that the pads will hold. Most pads will have a gel-like substance in them that wicks away the urine from the skin. The urine should not be spilling over the side if you are wearing the appropriate type for your leakage.