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Tips for a Stronger Bladder

Diet plays a huge part in our bladder health, and certain foods and drinks may contribute to urinary incontinence. Read on for tips to help alleviate leaky bladder symptoms.

Urge Incontinence and Stress Incontinence

Urge incontinence is when you feel a sudden urge to urinate and sometimes leak as a result. Stress incontinence is when you leak a bit of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or jump.

One Diet Does Not Fit All

While some diet tips may work for the average Jane, they might not work for you so try them on for size and keep what works and throw out the ones that don’t.

Some foods and drinks are known to cause irritation to the bladder lining, which can result in more frequent urination or the urge to go. The best way to figure out what might be triggering your incontinence, try eliminating or cutting back on certain foods and beverages. Once you narrow down the culprits, you can start reintroducing them one by one to determine your tolerant level.

Sneaky Little Culprits

Water intake – For optimum health, we should drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day, right? But what if you have incontinence? Won’t that make matters worse? Well yes…and no. On one hand, if you drink too much, you might overtax your bladder and make matters worse. On the other hand, if you don’t drink enough, your urine may become concentrated and that’s when bacteria can grow.  Which can lead to infection. Which can lead to incontinence. So what’s a girl to do? If you’re already drinking six to eight glasses of water a day, you can start by trying to reduce that amount by 25%. A recent study showed this helped reduce episodes of urgency and frequency. Don’t want to put so much effort into it? Don’t worry. Your body is constantly talking to you (and not just after you eat a bean burrito) so pay attention and it’ll tell you if you’re getting enough or not, and then just adjust your intake accordingly. You can also try cutting off your fluid intake earlier in the evening, which will help reduce those middle-of-the-night potty breaks.

Caffeinated beverages and foods – Caffeine can do a number on your bladder. It not only stimulates the bladder but it also acts as a diuretic, giving it a double whammy effect. To figure out how much caffeine your body can tolerate, it’s best to completely eliminate it from your diet. But, let’s look at this from a realistic standpoint. If you’ve been drinking coffee since the beginning of time, cutting it out completely probably isn’t an option. The point is, do what works for you. Even reducing the amount of caffeine can have a beneficial effect on incontinence. If you’re drinking four cups of coffee a day, try cutting down to one or two cups and see how your body responds!

Acidic foods – Certain citrus foods and drinks are highly acidic and tend to irritate the bladder. Cranberry juice has a reputation for helping to clear up bladder infections but it doesn’t help with overactive bladder and urge incontinence so try to eliminate or reduce these culprits.

Alcohol – Alcohol can interfere with your bladder. Here’s how: Your brain sends neurological signals to your bladder when it’s time to go but when there’s alcohol in your system, there’s less control over that signaling and this can make accidents more likely. So try to reduce or even eliminate alcohol altogether for a couple weeks to see how much control it has over your bladder.

Spicy foods – Did you know your favorite Mexican restaurant may be wreaking havoc on your bladder? As much as we love them, spicy and hot foods can irritate the lining of your bladder, which can exacerbate incontinence. Foods like Mexican or hot Chinese dishes, chili peppers, chili, horseradish and other highly spiced foods should be greatly reduced or eliminated if at all possible. Again, this is trial and error so try cutting these foods out and slowly reintroducing them to determine their effect.

Carbonated beverages – Even if your favorite carbonated drinks aren’t caffeinated, they can still irritate a sensitive bladder and once irritation sets in, you can have the urge to go.

Other Culprits

  • Milk and milk products
  • Sugar or honey
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Citrus fruits and juices

We Can Help Alleviate Your Urinary Incontinence

If you’re suffering from incontinence, be kind to yourself and try giving these tips a whirl. If they get to be confusing, just tune in to your body and listen – really listen.

To make an appointment with one of our double board-certified urogynecologists, call us at 770.720.7733 or request an appointment online.