How to Stop Bladder Leakage

Sophie Bebeau

Written by Sophie Bebeau on Thu Apr 06 2023.

How to Stop Bladder Leakage

Are bladder leaks getting in the way of your life? You're not alone: bladder leakage, also known as urinary incontinence, is a common issue experienced by people of all ages, though it is most common in older adults, especially women. 

It's frustrating to feel like frequent urine leakage is getting in the way of your normal day-to-day activities or stopping you from living life to the fullest. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can combat bladder leakage. From simple lifestyle changes to targeted exercises and more. Keep reading to explore the different methods out there that could effectively manage bladder leakage.

What You'll Need

Luckily, in most cases, you won't need any fancy equipment or accessories to work on minimizing urine leakage. All you need is a good routine and a commitment to finding out what works for you! Because there are many ways to curb frequent bladder leakage, you may have to try out different things and find out what is most effective for you.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

If you've been dealing with bladder leakage for a while, you've probably already heard about pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels. But if you haven't tried these simple and effective exercises yet, it's time to start! 

Pelvic floor exercises involve tightening and releasing the muscles around your pelvic area, which helps give you a better command of your bladder and increases bladder capacity, so you feel more in control. And pelvic floor exercises aren't just for women—these exercises can be done by men too!

How to perform pelvic floor exercises

Step 1: Find your pelvic floor muscles

Most of us aren't used to paying specific attention to our pelvic floor muscles, so it may take some practice to feel like you've got command over them. To practice finding your pelvic floor muscles try a few simple methods.

  • Stop urinating midstream. When you go to the bathroom, squeeze the muscles that stop the floor of urine for just a moment. Just don't do this regularly, as you want to completely void the urine from the bladder when you go. This is just a good way to get familiar with how it feels to flex these muscles when you're beginning.

  • Squeeze the muscles you would use if you were trying to keep from passing gas. Try not to clench the butt, thighs, or stomach, and focus only on the anus and pelvic area.

  • For women, insert a finger into the vagina and squeeze the vagina muscles around it, similar to when you're trying to hold back urine. You should feel the muscles contract around your finger.

Step 2: Perform a pelvic floor exercise.

Situate yourself in a comfortable position, sitting or lying on your back.

  • Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles.

  • Hold the squeeze for 3 to 8 seconds. If you can't hold it that long, that's okay! Just hold it as long as you can, up to 8 seconds.

  • Release the muscles.

  • Repeat a set of 10 to 15 squeezes three times.

  • Practice three times each day.

Pro Tip for Women

You should feel a sensation of "lifting" with your vaginal muscles when you perform a pelvic floor exercise. Imagine lifting something into the vagina with each squeeze.

Pro Tip for Men

With each squeeze, imagine you are lifting and shortening your penis. You should have the sensation of lifting your scrotum up and inside your body.

Double Voiding

Double voiding is the practice of urinating, waiting a few minutes, and then trying to urinate again. This can help your body learn to empty your bladder fully and avoid bladder overflow. Just remember not to sit on the toilet for longer than 10 minutes to avoid developing hemorrhoids.

Limit Jumping, Lifting, and High-Impact Exercise

Jumping and lifting heavier objects and doing high-impact exercises like jogging puts extra pressure on the bladder and abdomen, which causes the pelvic floor muscles to release and leak urine. Sorry, but you may have to cancel that trip to the trampoline park!

Don't worry, though, you can still get a workout in! Lower-impact exercises, like pilates, yoga, rowing, swimming, and walking, won't put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and cause urine leakage.

Don't Strain When Going Number 2

The average bowel movement shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, so if you find yourself spending more than that on the toilet, you are likely constipated. When you strain during a bowel movement, the pelvic floor muscles weaken, exacerbating urinary incontinence. 

If you're dealing with constipation, talk to your doctor about medications that can help and make lifestyle changes, like adding more fiber to your diet and exercising regularly.

Schedule Your Bathroom Breaks

Instead of waiting for the urge to go, train your bladder to void more consistently by scheduling a bathroom break every two to four hours. This may be difficult at first, especially if you have an overactive bladder. 

You can start by just trying to hold off going to the bathroom for five to ten minutes whenever you feel the urge. Work your way up to intervals of two to four hours between bathroom breaks, and your body will start to adjust to this schedule.

Cut Back on Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol are both major bladder irritants that can worsen incontinence. It may not be possible to completely eliminate those daily cups of coffee or caffeinated tea, so begin by cutting back to just one cup a day if possible. Try replacing caffeinated drinks with flavored water and decaf herbal teas. 

Cutting alcohol from your regular life can also make a big difference in curbing bladder leakage. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases urine production. This means when you drink alcohol, you tend to urinate more frequently, which can exacerbate incontinence symptoms.

Limit Bladder-irritating Foods

Like caffeinated drinks and alcohol, many foods can irritate the bladder and cause bladder leakage to worsen. Spicy and acidic foods are particularly irritating to the bladder and should be avoided. Other common foods to avoid: artificial sweeteners, soda, honey, and chocolate. Read Carewell's 8 Diet Tips to Help Manage an Overactive Bladder to get more ideas on managing urinary incontinence with dietary changes.

Stop Smoking

There are many, many reasons to stop smoking. Quitting the habit can reduce the risk of premature death and even add up to 10 years to your life! Smoking also irritates the bladder and can increase symptoms of urinary incontinence. 

Plus, excessive coughing can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and make bladder leakage worse. If you struggle with urinary incontinence, giving up smoking will go a long way in controlling symptoms, and you'll be doing the rest of your body a big favor too!

Lose Excess Weight

Carrying around extra weight can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and make you more prone to bladder leakage. If you are overweight, making simple lifestyle changes like altering your diet to include less sugar and less processed food and getting regular exercise is a good start to losing weight. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your weight and need some guidance.

Rule Out Infection or Other Medical Issues

Most cases of bladder leakage develop as part of normal aging, after childbirth, or due to lifestyle habits like smoking and poor diet. But if you are experiencing a sudden loss of bladder control or feel nothing is helping mitigate bladder leakage, it's time to see a doctor to rule out any medical issues. A doctor can have your urine tested to detect things like urinary tract infections or other abnormalities. Make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor right away if you're experiencing bladder leakage along with painful urination, cloudy urine, and blood in the urine.

Drink Lots of Water

Many people with urinary incontinence limit their water intake for fear of causing bladder leakage. Though it may seem counterintuitive, drinking more water during the day actually helps with urine leakage! Limiting water intake causes the bladder to have reduced capacity, meaning it can't hold as much liquid. Staying well hydrated is an important part of keeping your bladder healthy and can also reduce constipation. Try to drink six to eight glasses of water (or other decaffeinated and no-sugar liquids) each day.


Urinary incontinence does not have to control your life. If you need more information about managing urinary incontinence and bladder leakage, check out Carewell's archive of helpful articles about things like the best types of incontinence products, talking about incontinence with loved ones, and expert advice from Carewell's medical consultants.

Need More Information?

Carewell's team of Caregiving Specialists are also available to help you with any of your questions about managing incontinence and selecting the products that fit your lifestyle. Care Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call (800) 696-CARE, email, or click the live chat feature at the bottom of the page. We are passionate about serving caregivers and would love to help you find the products that make your life easier!

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Sophie Bebeau
Sophie Bebeau

Sophie Bebeau is a writer, graphic designer, poet, and multidisciplinary artist living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. When she’s not writing or making things for the internet, she can be found cross-stitching, writing poetry, and snuggling on the couch with a cup of tea and her husband, son, and dog, Buttercup.