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J Community Health Nurs. 1996;13(3):179-86.

Fluid intake and urinary incontinence in older community-dwelling women.

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College of Nursing, University of Akron, OH 44325, USA.


Urinary incontinence (UI) is a common problem and requires adjustment to self-care. Noninvasive methods to manage UI should be tried first. Although many individuals restrict fluid intake to reduce incontinent episodes, clinical hunches suggest that adequate hydration is more useful in the management of UI. This study was conducted to determine the effects of hydration on the number of UI episodes. Women were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: increase fluid intake by 500 cc, maintain fluid intake at baseline level, or decrease by 300 cc. Thirty-two women kept fluid intake and output diaries for 5 weeks. Adherence to fluid intake protocols was poor, and consequently, quantitative results were nonsignificant. However, follow-up interviews revealed that 20 women reported decreased UI episodes since participating in the study and felt that the most significant learning was their recognition of the need to increase fluid intake. Community health nurses can provide guidance in self-assessment of fluid intake patterns to help manage UI.

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