07 May Healthy Bladder: Foods that Help or Irritate Your Overactive Bladder
“ I’ve heard that some foods can make my bladder leakage worse. Is that true?” – L.R., Elco, NV
Yes, that’s 100% true. What we put in our bodies greatly affects our overall health as well as specific areas such as the bladder.
First, let’s focus on what you should eat and drink. Plenty of water! Our natural tendency is to limit fluids so we do not have to use the bathroom as much, but that could actually harm our bladders. If we don’t drink enough, urine will become dark and concentrated and could irritate the bladder more.
Focus on water and non-caffeinated beverages. Don’t forget about high-water-content foods too. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, strawberries, cantaloupe, and spinach all have a water contents above 90%. Strive to take in the equivalent of 6-8 glasses – about 2 liters total – of water each day, but always confirm with your doctor what is best for you.
There are also items that should be avoided. These include caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, carbonated soda), alcohol, tomato-based products, including spaghetti sauce, ketchup and salsa; citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, chocolate (I’m sorry!), spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners. All of these items can cause bladder irritation.
Try removing all of the irritants from your diet for a few days. Are your overactive bladder symptoms better? Now, add one item back in your diet every few days. You can then identify which categories of items affects you most. It takes time, persistence and willpower, but you can do it!