Urology Wellness

Diet and Incontinence

Bowel and bladder functions are closely related. Part of the bowel called the rectosigmoid colon begins as a continuation of the descending colon and becomes continuous with the rectum hanging down into the pelvic cavity in the form of a loop. The rectosigmoid colon and the bladder share the same small space within the bony pelvis. When the rectum is empty, bladder function is at its best and when the rectum is loaded with stool, bladder storage and emptying functions are impaired. Good bowel function is an absolute requirement for good bladder function.

Factors that lead to constipation will also tend to provoke bladder symptoms. We live in an age of fast foods, and many women may have a diet that is sadly lacking in fiber and bulk. A healthy diet should include not only all of the required nutrition, but also natural sources of fiber, softeners and lubricants. Some of you may adhere to your own ideas of Healthy Eating, which may tend to exclude oils and fats that are natural softeners and lubricants for the bowel. A regular bowel is easier to maintain when you have a regular eating schedule. The ancient physicians advocated that for a healthy bowel, one should eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a peasant and dinner like a pauper. Even today, this is sound advice. In our culture, eating patterns are often erratic. We may eat a quick, small breakfast, grab a quick snack for lunch at work, and eat a big meal in the evening before retiring to bed. This is the opposite of what is required for a healthy bowel. The bowel is stimulated to act by filling the stomach followed by physical activity of the normal day or by exercise.