Advice on Diet and Hydration in MS

This World Nutrition and Hydration Week we spoke to Carole Copestake our MS Continence Advisor about the impact a good diet and adequate hydration can have on our bladder and bowel.

“Food plays a crucial role in our lives. Food provides us with nutrients and energy that our body needs to function and is also part of our culture and social interaction.

A good diet can play an important role in managing MS symptoms such as fatigue and constipation. Constipation is a very common symptom in MS and a diet that contains insufficient fibre can be a contributing factor.

There is no single food that contains all the essential nutrients that our body needs. For this reason, our diets should contain a variety of different foods. The exact make-up of a healthy diet will be depending on age, gender, lifestyle and degree of physical activity. But basic principles of a healthy diet remain the same.

Aim for at least five portions of fruit, vegetables and fibre. A shift in fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats. Keep salt intake to less than five grams per day and limit your intake of free sugars.

Adequate fluid intake is essential to prevent dehydration, indeed too little fluid intake can potentially make you feel lethargic, experience brain fog, headaches and generally feel unwell.

It can be understandable, if you are making frequent trips to the toilet and getting up several times a night, you may feel you need to restrict your fluid intake. But restricting your fluids can actually compound your symptoms causing your urine to be more concentrated contributing to bladder irritability, bladder spasms and the growth of bacteria resulting in a urinary tract infection.

Drinking up to eight glasses of fluid a day can help flush out bacteria, help with good kidney function and a general feeling better in yourself.

I would encourage anyone to ‘sip sip sip’ throughout the day rather than glug a glass full now and again”

Carole Copestake runs our Bladder and Bowel course (BBc), a free of charge course designed for anyone with MS who would like to know more about their bladder and bowels and how to manage symptoms. The next BBc takes place in Bristol in May 2018. Go to the BBc page on our website for more information on the course on the course and how to register.

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