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Pfizer Inc. recently announced results of a study showing patients with overactive bladder who took Toviaz experienced a reduction in the average number of urinary incontinence episodes per 24 hours. New treatments in medicine — combined with a change in eating and drinking habits — can help those managing incontinence.

Although incontinence often goes hand in hand with aging or illness, the good news is there are continual advances in treatments, products and attitudes about incontinence. And then there are some basic rules that can help individuals with incontinence reduce urinary frequency:

  1. Monitor fluid intake. Drinking too little can result in dehydration and urine concentrated with bladder-irritating salts. Drinking too much fluid at a time causes increased amounts of urine that can overwork a bladder. Because fluid intake can be perceived inaccurately, it may be helpful to measure and record daily fluid intake, along with incontinence episodes. It may help you notice patterns, and help your health care provider monitor your condition.
  2. Increase dietary fiber. Compacted stool can cause bladder nerves to become overactive, increasing urinary frequency. Men over 50 should aim for about 30 grams of fiber per day; women over 50, about 21 grams. If you or a loved one has special dietary needs, nutritionals can help meet daily requirements, in forms that are easy to swallow and digest.
  3. Avoid bladder irritants. Alcohol and caffeine are bladder stimulants and diuretics, which can cause a sudden need to urinate. Even teas and carbonated beverages may contribute to bladder problems. Other known irritants to watch for are sugar and artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, spicy foods, and acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus.

An infection, such as that of the urinary tract, can also irritate the bladder and cause strong urges to urinate. See your doctor if you suspect an infection.

(This article by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist,  originally appeared on the CareGiver Partnership blog.)

About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.

Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.