Vitamin D Deficiency and Incontinence - Is There A Link?

February 07, 2019

Vitamin D Deficiency and Incontinence - Is There A Link?

Vitamin D Deficiency and Incontinence - Is There A Link?


Can a deficiency in Vitamin D contribute to incontinence?  This question, along with so many others, are often raised in hushed tones between the closest of friends.  Those who suffer from incontinence often do so in silence, embarrassed and ashamed to openly ask for help (even from their physicians), if they actually ask at all.

In previous blogs we have shared some of the causes of incontinence as well as some of the ways in which to manage this condition. But, we have yet to report information on nutrition, specifically vitamins, as a contributing factor.  

Vitamin D and Incontinence

Ensuring that your body receives the recommended daily amount of vitamins is important.   They help us grow and are critical to many of our bodies’ functions including, but not limited to, digestion and immunity.  The list of 13 essential vitamins includes Vitamin D which is important for a number of reasons like maintaining a strong skeletal system.

That said, medical organizations have been sharing, for years,  that many Americans are deficient in this important vitamin.   In addition to the other health risks associated with a lack of this vitamin, studies have show that a deficiency in Vitamin D could be a contributing factor to incontinence.  In fact, in 2010 WebMD published an article sharing this specific information.  

In fact, Vitamin D plays an important role in muscle health.  A study was conducted and, according to, "Since both men and women have pelvic floor muscles that play a role in urinary control, a deficiency or low level of Vitamin D could have a negative impact on muscle strength and structure in the pelvis necessary for urinary control.” 


If you are suffering from urinary incontinence, you should speak with your physician.  He or she can conduct a complete physical examination and order appropriate blood work to identify the levels of Vitamin D in your system. The information provided from the laboratory will show if this level is low. Additionally, your doctor can help determine if there are any other underlying health concerns that may be causing the incontinence.  He or she can also suggest ways in which to manage this condition.

Tips to Increasing Vitamin D Intake

If, by chance, your blood work does indicate a need for you to increase your intake of Vitamin D, there are a number of steps you can take.  Below we have shared some of them.  Again, these are just suggestions, all of which should be discussed with your doctor.  Nutrition and dietary needs are individual and personal; what is healthy for one may not be for another.  

Spend Time Outdoors:  One of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunshine!  Spending time outdoors is an ideal way for your body to increase its exposure to this important vitamin.  Mid-day is the best time as this is when the sun is at its strongest.  Note, your skin must be directly exposed to sunlight in order to absorb the Vitamin D. Sitting by a window at work or inside of your car does you no good!  Because getting enough sunlight can be difficult, especially during the winter for many of us, you may need to employ other measures. Be advised, exposure to sunlight also has risks; check out this article for information on safely increasing your exposure to sunlight.

Enhance Your Diet:  Vitamin D does not occur naturally in many foods (perhaps this is one of the reasons so many of us are deficient).  However, eating the right foods CAN help.  Consider adding specific types of seafood to your diet, salmon, swordfish, shrimp and canned tuna are all good sources.  Additionally, beef liver is an excellent “go to” food.  Also, check your labels as many foods today are fortified with Vitamin D.  Both cow’s milk and soy milk can be a good source as can certain brands of orange juice, cereal and oatmeal. Finally, cod liver oil also contains Vitamin D.

Take A Supplement:  Unfortunately, it is difficult to adequately increase Vitamin D levels through both sunshine and diet. Therefore, many physicians recommend taking a supplement in order to boost the levels in your system.  This can be an extremely effective and simple way to solve the problem of a Vitamin D deficiency; supplements are available at pharmacies, grocery stores and big box stores like Target and Walmart.  That said, an addition of any type of vitamin supplement should be discussed directly with your doctor.
Increasing the Vitamin D in your system to a healthy level may help strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce the symptoms of incontince including leakage.


Knowledge is Power

As a result of our experience serving our clients who suffer from incontinence, we know how frustrating the condition can be.  In fact, it often dictates how many who are affected live their lives. That said, knowledge is power and we encourage those living with incontinence to learn all they can about this condition.  There are steps that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms.



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