Objectives: To determine the association between the type and volume of fluid intake and bowel symptoms in women with urinary incontinence. We hypothesize that a lower volume of fluid intake would be associated with greater straining with bowel movements in women with urinary incontinence.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of 256 women presenting with complaints of urinary incontinence from 2009 to 2010. Data on fluid intake, fluid intake behavior, urinary and bowel symptoms were collected using validated questionnaires. The relationship between quartiles of total daily fluid intake and bowel symptoms was analyzed.
Results: The behavior of restricting fluid intake was reported by 32% of the women. Increasing quartiles of total daily fluid intake was significantly associated with greater bother from straining with bowel movements (P = 0.04). Women with no bother from straining with bowel movements had significantly lower median daily fluid intake (2839 mL) than women with quite a bit of bother (3312 mL; P = 0.01). The association between the volume of fluid intake and straining with bowel movements persisted after controlling for age, body mass index, history of prolapse or incontinence surgery, and stage of prolapse (P < 0.05). There was no association between caffeinated fluid intake and any bowel symptom or between the behavior of restricting fluid intake and any bowel symptom.
Conclusion: In women with urinary incontinence, higher volume of total fluid intake is reported by women with greater straining with bowel movements. The behavior of fluid restriction is not associated with bothersome bowel symptoms.