I'm drinking again, more than I have in years. It's not the hard stuff, though; not even beer or wine. It's just plain water. That may sound crazy for someone like me who has bladder problems due to multiple sclerosis (MS). For many of us with MS, we think that water is something to avoid — mostly so we can reduce those gotta-go, gotta-go moments that have us sprinting for a restroom. But while it may seem logical that someone who has bladder urgency and frequency would want to decrease water intake, doctors say lowering the amount of water in the bladder may actually result in the opposite of the bladder control we're trying to achieve. Dr. Aaron Boster is one of them. On his YouTube channel, Boster says drinking water is important because your urine becomes too concentrated if you don't. That concentrated urine irritates the bladder and can make it spasm, creating one of those gotta-go moments. Upping your water intake reduces the irritation and flushes out bacteria, which can cause urinary tract infections. Boster says it also decreases leg spasms, cramps, and fatigue while improving your mood. How much should you drink? The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends healthy women take in 91 ounces of total water (from all beverages and foods) every day. Men should receive 125 ounces. About 80% of that would come from liquids, with the rest from food. That works out to 72-100 ounces, or nine to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water, a day. That's a lot of drinking, at least for me. Boster suggests drinking five large glasses a day, one at each meal (not while eating, though) and one between each meal. I've been drinking four medium glasses, one when I wake up and brush my teeth, one at lunch, one at dinner, and one when I brush my teeth at night. This isn't as much as I should, but it's more than I used to drink and it seems to be working for me. Water helps bowels, too. More water means a moister stool that's easier to pass out of your body. For many years, it wasn't unusual for me to go three or four days without a bowel movement. (Sorry if I'm oversharing.) But after boosting the water I drink — even just the small amount that I've been doing — I've become almost everyday regular. Not only do I feel more comfortable when I'm regular, it also helps my bladder control. As my neurologist has explained to me, when someone is constipated, the expanded colon presses on the bladder. And guess what that causes? Bladder urgency. With that urgency eased, not only do I need to rush to the loo less frequently during the day, but I can also sleep better. I used to wake up at least once a night, sometimes twice, for a bathroom trip. I now get six or seven straight hours most nights, and last night I got eight. It's still a tough ride. In addition to drinking more water, I've also changed to drinking decaf coffee, and I limit myself to one mug most mornings. I rarely drink beer, wine, or soda anymore. But I still worry about water, especially when I'm traveling. If I set out for a drive of more than a couple of hours, I won't drink anything until I get where I'm going, except a few sips. And I'm always concerned that my "bladder coaster" ride will unexpectedly kick in again. With my new water routine — combined with using Myrbetriq (mirabegron), my most recent bladder medication — I think my bladder control is better than it's been in years. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that most of my gotta-go moments have gone and went. You're invited to share your water experiences in the comments below and to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com. Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.