Alcohol and Incontinence


A number of things can bring on incontinence, including too much alcohol. Incontinence is characterised by a sudden urge to use the toilet and possibly not being able to reach the toilet in time. It can be an embarrassing and isolating condition.

Incontinence occurs more often in women than in men but can happen to both genders. Alcohol can make the nerves in the bladder duller, meaning alerts don’t go to the brain that the bladder is full. This can potentially allow the bladder to become full to overflowing without a person realising.

Incontinence can be caused by drinking because alcohol is a diuretic and stimulates the bladder, prompting the urge to urinate. Drinking lots of fluids in a short space of time, which is common in heavy drinkers, can also prompt the urgent need to use the toilet.

Conversely alcohol dehydrates and this makes urine more concentrated and more irritating to the bladder, worsening incontinence. Other substances such as caffeine, sweeteners, drugs and fizzy drinks can also irritate the bladder.

If you suspect that alcohol is causing incontinence, you should quit drinking altogether and see whether the condition dissipates. Losing weight if necessary and strengthening pelvic muscles can also help with incontinence.

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