Limiting fluid intake doesn't prevent incontinence

March 24, 2011

Drinking less fluid to avoid incontinence later in life is neither helpful nor desirable for women, a new multicenter study suggests.

Drinking less fluid to avoid incontinence later in life is neither helpful nor desirable for women, a new multicenter study suggests.

Researchers used questionnaires to track daily fluid intake
for 2 to 4 years in 65,167 women, 37 to 79 years of age, enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study. None of the women had urinary incontinence at the study baseline (2000-2001). The researchers calculated the total amount of fluid the women consumed daily-including alcohol, coffee, milk, water, and juice-which ranged from 1 to 3 liters.

“We found no association between total fluid intake and risk of incident incontinence,” the authors write. About 30% of the women later developed at least 1 episode of incontinence per month, in line with other estimates of the incidence of female incontinence, even after stratification by volume of fluid intake. Total fluid intake was not associated with risk of a particular type of incontinence (eg, stress, urgency, or mixed incontinence).

“These findings suggest that women should not restrict their fluid intake to prevent incontinence development,” the authors write.

Their study was published online February 23 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.