What are some bladder management points to remember if I have multiple sclerosis (MS)?
- Adequate fluid intake is 1½-2 quarts of fluid a day. The urge to urinate comes about 1½ -2 hours after drinking something.
- Caffeine, aspartame, and alcohol are all bladder irritants.
- Smoking also is irritating to the bladder.
- Limiting fluid is harmful.
- It is not normal to leak urine, wake up more than once at night to urinate, or to have frequent urinary tract infections.
- Bladder infections in people with MS may result in an increase in MS symptoms, spasticity, and fatigue.
Plan of action
- Drink fluids all at once (drink 6 to 8 ounces at a time). If you sip, sip, sip you will feel the urge to urinate frequently. Try to go about 1½ to 2 hours after you drink.
- Stop drinking fluids about 2 hours before bedtime; urinate right before bedtime.
- If you tend to get frequent bladder infections you are probably not emptying your bladder completely.
- Taking cranberry pills may keep your urine more acidic and decrease the bacteria in your urine.
What are some bowel management points to remember if I have multiple sclerosis?
- The goal is a comfortable bowel movement (BM) either every day, every other day, or every 2 to 3 days. For regular bowel movements you need fluid (1½ to 2 quarts a day), fiber (20 to 30 grams a day) and activity.
- One-third of a cup of Fiber One®, All-Bran® or 100% Bran Buds® gives you half the fiber you need for the day.
- Greasy foods, spicy foods, or food intolerances (for example, lactose intolerance) may cause loose stool and may result in involuntary bowel movements.
Plan of action
- Eat regularly for regular bowel habits. Plan for a bowel movement each day about ½ hour after eating or drinking something warm (bowel activity is naturally increased at this time). Sit on the toilet about 10 minutes, and try to have a BM. You may want to gently rock back and forth on the toilet. If nothing happens, leave the bathroom and try again later.
- Use a suppository to help stimulate bowel activity. (It takes about 20 minutes for a suppository to work.) Occasionally, it might help to take milk of magnesia or citrate of magnesia to stimulate bowel activity.
- It may take two to three months to establish a regular bowel regimen.