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Incontinence is surprisingly common

Incontinence is surprisingly common. Embarrassment stops many people from talking to their GP.

Whilst it is more likely, it is not inevitable, that we may lose some bladder control as we get older.

In general, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men and becomes more common with increasing age.

It is normal to go to the toilet four to seven times a day and pass up to a pint of urine at a time. People with urinary (wee) incontinence get the urge to go far more often and pass a lot less urine each time. Bowel incontinence can be a bowel accident, when you don’t reach the toilet in time, or leaking from the bowel that you are unaware of. Make sure you do not stop drinking, this can lead to dehydration, bladder infection, dizziness and other complications.

If you have incontinence, don't be embarrassed about talking to your GP. The symptoms can be improved, and often cured, with simple methods. Your GP can also check the symptoms for other complications.


  1. I have incontinence and have stopped drinking very much so I do not wet the bed accidentally. 
  2. Could drinking less water be bad for my health? 
  3. In drinking less water you may become dehydrated. Talk to your GP and get the problem sorted out.

Keeping a Bladder Diary

Your doctor or nurse will usually ask you to keep a bladder diary to help them to get as much information as possible about your condition. As well as helping them with diagnosis, this diary is also a really useful tool for monitoring the effect of different treatments. By comparing a diary recorded before you begin treatment with one taken afterwards, your doctor will be able to see if it is working and whether they need to make any tweaks or adjustments.

Keeping a bladder diary is easy. 

All you need to do is note down:

  • How much you drink
  • What you drink
  • The amount of urine you pass
  • How many times you leak and when
  • How many times you need the toilet urgently

You will need to keep the diary for three days, but you can do this on days when you are at home to minimise any disruption to your normal routine. Take a look at the example/template at the link below, which will show you what your diary may look like.

Download the form: Keeping a Bladder Diary

GP says

There are several forms of effective treatment, including:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight.
  • Pelvic floor muscle training (exercising your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing them).
  • Bladder training, so you can wait longer.

Your GP or the Suffolk Continence Service 0300 123 2425 can assess whether you have incontinence, decide which type of incontinence you have, give general advice on controlling symptoms, give information on pelvic floor exercises and bladder training and give treatment with prescribed medicines. Regular clinics are held across Suffolk on an appointment basis.

If lifestyle changes and treatments do not solve the problem, you may be referred to a Continence Adviser or specialist.

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