Updated 31 August 2018

6 top tips to maintain kidney health and help curb incontinence

Your kidneys have a direct impact on the health of your bladder, so it is vital to look after them to prevent conditions such as incontinence later in life.

It is not common knowledge that the kidneys have a large effect on the function of the bladder.

The kidneys are the start of the urinary tract system and act as the regulator for water, toxins, and minerals in our bodies.

If these functions are hindered, the body cannot maintain a healthy metabolism. As kidney function decreases, the levels of urea and creatinine in the blood increase.

These are six ways you can improve the health of your kidneys:

Monitor your blood pressure

blood pressure

High blood pressure is the most common cause of kidney disease. Normal high blood pressure is 120/80, and anything over 140/90 is concerning and you should speak to your doctor about ways to lower your blood pressure. Continue to monitor your blood pressure, especially if it is a common disease in your family.

Stop smoking


There are no health benefits to smoking; in fact it increases the risk of kidney cancer by 50%. Smoking slows down the blood flow to the kidneys, and insufficient blood flow impairs their function.


Daily medication

If you suffer from chronic pain, you most likely are using medication on a regular basis to manage the pain. Certain medications for pain such as ibuprofen used over extended periods of time can be damaging to the kidneys. Consult your physician about ways to manage your pain without putting your kidneys at risk.

Reduce sugar and salt intake

salt and sugar

If you have diabetes, you know that you need to monitor your blood sugar levels. But did you know that nearly half of people who have diabetes suffer from kidney damage at a later stage? Alongside getting your blood sugar level tested regularly, you also need to have your kidney function tested.

For those who are not diabetic, you need to focus on a balanced diet and need to have your blood sugar levels tested regularly to help you to better manage your sugar intake.

Be aware of your salt intake as well. The recommended daily allowance is less than 5g per day. It is easier to monitor how much salt you are taking in by preparing your own food. Try to eat fewer ready-made meals, and rather cook your own meals.


Water in a glass

Consuming 2 litres of water a day helps the body to flush out sodium, urea and toxins. This helps lower the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Get Active


Making time to exercise has a multitude of benefits; one of them is lowering your blood pressure. Maintaining normal blood pressure can prevent chronic kidney disease. Taking a brisk walk or a jogging a few times a week is a great way to start moving if you haven’t been active for a long time.

Image credit : iStock


Ask the Expert

Incontinence Expert

Dr Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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