Keeping your bladder and bowel healthy
Keeping your bladder and bowel healthy is important for your overall health. Having a healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent problems like incontinence. Find out what else you can do for good bladder and bowel health.
Good bladder and bowel habits
Good bladder habits can help with bladder control. Good bowel habits can also help avoid bowel control issues. Here are some simple things you can do every day to keep your bladder and bowel healthy:
- drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day
- exercise for about 30 minutes most days
- do your pelvic floor muscle exercises
- maintain an ideal body weight
- stop smoking
- eat plenty of high-fibre foods
- practice good toilet habits
- get help as soon as you think you have a problem.
Good toilet habits
Practising good toilet habits helps improve bladder and bowel health. Good toilet habits include:
- going to the toilet when you get the urge to do a poo
- using the correct sitting position on the toilet – sit on the toilet, place your elbows on your knees and lean forward. You can also support your feet with a footstool. This helps to fully relax your pelvic floor and muscles around your bottom (anus)
- avoid being constipated
- don’t go to the toilet 'just in case' – only go when you need to
- see your doctor if you think you have a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Looking after your pelvic floor muscles
The floor of your pelvis (the area between your tummy and your legs) is made up of many layers of muscle and tissue. The pelvic floor muscles help control your bladder and bowel.
Many things can weaken your pelvic floor muscles:
- prostate surgery
- having a baby
- heavy lifting
- ongoing coughing
- being overweight
- not being fit
- getting older.
It is very important for both men and women to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong. To do this you need to exercise the muscles in your pelvic floor. Doing these exercises every day can help prevent bladder and bowel problems.
For a step-by-step guide on how to train your pelvic floor muscles, see: