Natural and At-Home Remedies for Incontinence

If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, certain natural and at-home remedies may help.

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Urinary incontinence is a common condition that impacts hundreds of millions of people worldwide. 

Incontinence can take a toll on your physical and mental health and may make it harder to socialize and participate in activities you enjoy. 

Some types of incontinence require medication and even surgery, but there are other options — including natural remedies and at-home treatments —  that may provide relief from incontinence symptoms. 

Here are a few evidence-based at-home and natural remedies for incontinence. 

What Is Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is when you accidentally leak urine because you’re unable to control your bladder. 

This common condition is estimated to impact around 13 million Americans and 423 million people worldwide. However, these numbers are likely much higher because many people don’t report urinary incontinence to their healthcare providers due to shame or embarrassment.  

Urinary incontinence is more common in older adults and women. In fact, women are 50% more likely to develop urinary incontinence than men. 

There are quite a few types of incontinence, each with different causes:

  • Urge incontinence: Urge incontinence happens when you have a strong, sudden need to pee that causes involuntary urination at inappropriate times. It’s caused when your bladder spasm and contracts due to a neurological disorder, infection, or diabetes. 
  • Stress urinary incontinence: This is a type of incontinence caused by a combination of increased pressure in the abdomen and weak muscles in the pelvis and/or urethra — the tube that drains urine from your bladder. In people with stress urinary incontinence,  everyday occurrences and activities, such as sneezing, laughing, or exercising, can cause urinary leakage.
  • Overflow incontinence: This type of incontinence occurs when the muscles of the bladder are not able to squeeze properly to empty the bladder. 
  • Mixed incontinence: This is a combination of both urge and stress incontinence.
  • Functional urinary incontinence: With this type of incontinence, the bladder is functioning normally, but you're unable to get to the toilet in time to urinate or don’t realize you need to urinate. People with dementia and intellectual disabilities, and people with difficulty walking from conditions like cerebral palsy may experience this type of incontinence. 

As you can imagine, urinary incontinence can be embarrassing and disruptive to daily life, especially for someone experiencing frequent episodes. Plus, incontinence can lead to medical issues like pressure ulcers, depression, infections, and urinary tract infections.

Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments for incontinence, but the right treatment approach depends on the cause of incontinence and your individual needs.

Healthcare providers usually start with the least invasive and natural methods like behavioral therapy, weight loss (urinary incontinence is more common in people who are overweight), and pelvic floor exercises before moving on to interventions like medication or surgery.

At-Home Remedies for Incontinence

While surgery or medications may be necessary for some people with incontinence, experts recommend starting with lifestyle adjustments.

Alternative therapies like supplements could help provide some relief, too.

If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, the following at-home remedies and natural therapies could help. 

Be Thoughtful About Fluid Intake

One of the first treatments your doctor may recommend for urinary incontinence is behavioral therapy, which often includes controlling your fluid intake. However, this doesn’t always mean drinking less.

Drinking enough fluids like water throughout the day helps keep you hydrated, which is necessary for overall health. Limiting your fluid intake too severely can lead to dehydration and strong-smelling urine, and can even lead to bladder irritation, making urinary incontinence worse. 

Instead of cutting yourself off from fluids, or drinking a ton all at once, experts suggest spreading out your beverage intake throughout the day. Most people need around 2 to 3 liters or 8.5 to 12.5 cups of water per day. 

Basically, you don't want to drink too much or too little.

Consider limiting beverages in the hours leading up to bedtime if nighttime incontinence is an issue.

Adjust What You Drink and Eat

Certain beverages like coffee, caffeinated tea, and cola, can worsen incontinence. Other drinks like carbonated beverages and alcohol could irritate the bladder and may have to be avoided, too. 

Some foods could be problematic for people with urinary incontinence, too. For example, chocolate, other caffeine-containing foods, and spicy or acidic foods could stimulate the bladder and worsen leaks.

Although some studies suggest that a low-fat diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains could help reduce urinary incontinence symptoms in women, more research is needed to understand how dietary changes impact this condition.  

Another helpful dietary recommendation for urinary incontinence is upping your fiber intake. Constipation can worsen urinary incontinence by putting pressure on the bladder. Following a high-fiber diet by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and staying hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day can help prevent and treat constipation.  

Train Your Bladder

Instead of going when you feel the urge to pee, moving towards a more regular urination schedule may be helpful for people with urge incontinence.

In order to “train” your bladder so you can urinate less frequently, experts recommend keeping a bladder diary to keep track of your urination schedule. If you’re urinating frequently, try adding 15 minutes between bathroom visits to start, urinating each time even if you don’t feel a strong urge to go. 

Little by little, increase the time between bathroom visits. This will help your bladder learn to hold more urine so you can go to the bathroom at set times throughout the day.

Get to a Healthy Weight

If you’re overweight or obese, extra body fat in the abdomen puts pressure on the bladder, which can worsen or cause urinary incontinence. 

If you’re currently overweight or obese and experiencing urinary incontinence, losing excess body fat can help reduce symptoms and improve health in other ways as well.

Changing your diet, increasing daily physical activity, getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels are all important for weight loss

If you need help developing a healthy, sustainable weight loss plan, consider making an appointment with a healthcare provider like a registered dietitian. 

The research cited in this article claims that weight loss can prevent or help treat a chronic condition. An individual’s weight is affected by a variety of biological, environmental, and social factors. does not promote or condone weight loss that’s not under the care of a healthcare provider. Please contact your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about losing weight responsibly and healthfully.

Work Out Your Pelvic Muscles

Strengthening the pelvic floor can help if you have urge or stress incontinence. 

Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) involves performing exercises that help strengthen muscles around the bladder. It is often used on its own or in combination with other treatments like electrical stimulation as a treatment for urinary incontinence. 

Strengthening the pelvic muscles could help you hold in your urine longer and reduce the number of leaks you experience.  

A physical therapist trained in pelvic floor therapy can help you develop a safe and appropriate PFMT routine. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t perform pelvic floor exercises while urinating.

Dietary Supplements

Although dietary supplements should never take the place of necessary prescription medications, studies suggest that some supplements, like vitamins and herbs, might be helpful for some people with urinary incontinence.  

  • Vitamin D: Studies show that women with low vitamin D levels are more likely to experience urinary incontinence. Fortunately, vitamin D supplements may help decrease urinary leakage. Talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels tested. 
  • Gosha-jinki-gan: This is a blend of several herbs used in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Some studies suggest it could be helpful for reducing nocturia or urinary frequency at night, which may be helpful for those with incontinence. However, more research is needed and you should always speak with your doctor before trying herbal supplements. 
  • Pumpkin seed extract: Limited research suggests that pumpkin seed extract supplements may be helpful for reducing urinary symptoms like urge incontinence in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement of the prostate. 

Although certain supplements may be helpful for some types of urinary incontinence, it’s important to let your doctor know if you’re interested in taking a vitamin, mineral, herb, or any other product. 

Some supplements are safe, but others — especially herbs — can cause side effects and interact with common medications.  

Lastly, certain supplements could make incontinence symptoms worse. For example, high-dose vitamin C and calcium supplements can irritate the bladder and worsen incontinence symptoms. 

But, eating foods high in vitamin C like citrus fruits could have the opposite effect, helping reduce incontinence symptoms like the frequent urge to pee.

Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. The effects of supplements vary from person to person and depend on many variables, including type, dosage, frequency of use, and interactions with current medications. Please speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting any supplements.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you’re experiencing symptoms like leaking urine, frequent urination, or loss of bladder control that aren’t getting better with home remedies, visit your healthcare provider.

Your primary care doctor or a specialist like a urologist or a gynecologist can work with you to find the most effective treatment for your condition and can share tips that may help improve your quality of life. 

Depending on the type and severity of urinary incontinence, your healthcare provider may prescribe behavioral modification, weight loss, or physical therapy or recommend medication or surgical management. 

A Quick Review

Incontinence is a common condition that can impact your physical and mental well-being.

Depending on the type, incontinence can sometimes be treated with natural and at-home remedies like bladder training, pelvic floor exercises, weight loss, and dietary supplements.

However, these methods aren’t always appropriate or effective, so it’s important to visit a trusted healthcare provider if you’re experiencing incontinence symptoms so that you can get the best care. 

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11 Sources uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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