Urinary Incontinence: Foods and Drinks That Cause Overactive Bladder

Reviewed on 7/24/2020

Carbonated Beverages Can Be Bladder Irritants

Overactive bladder causes are numerous but watch out for carbonated beverages.

There's a link between overactive bladder (OAB) and diet. This includes what you drink. Carbonated beverages contain substances that can irritate a sensitive bladder. People who have OAB or urge incontinence should steer clear of bubbly drinks including sparking water, club soda, and seltzer water. Alcohol in champagne and sparkling wine can be a problem, too, in addition to the bubbles.

Caffeine Can Make You Go Early and Often

Caffeine consumption may increase overactive bladder symptoms.

Do you love coffee, colas, or energy drinks? You might want to rethink your caffeine habit. Caffeine is a potential bladder irritant that increases urine production, so you may make more frequent trips to the bathroom. Caffeinated beverages contain acid, which also irritates the bladder. Swap out your caffeinated favorites for decaffeinated versions, coffee that is low in acid, and herbal tea (except citrus varieties).

Opt for White Chocolate

Choose white chocolate instead of dark if you are prone to bladder leakage.

Do you love chocolate, but you're always running to the bathroom? If so, you may need to tweak your chocolate habit. That's because traditional chocolate has acid and caffeine, both known bladder irritants. Either cut back on this treat or opt for white chocolate that has reduced levels of caffeine or none at all. Definitely don't eat traditional chocolate late at night. It may make you have to get up for nighttime bathroom trips.

Be Mindful of Citrus

Citrus is one of the potential causes of bladder leakage because it may increase the urge to urinate.

Citrus fruit is acidic and it may contribute to urge incontinence. Citrus doesn't just mean oranges, but also clementines, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Not sure if citrus causes problems for you or not? Try eliminating it for a while and then add a bit back into your diet again to see what happens.

Watch Out for Acidic Fruits

Potential bladder leakage causes include acidic fruits like pineapple.

If you're searching for solutions for bladder leakage, cut acidic fruits like pineapple out of your diet. Acid fruits can irritate your bladder and make you go to the bathroom more often. Reach for shredded coconut instead of pineapple chunks to add tropical flavor to your favorite dishes.

Tomato Overload May Make You Go

Acid tomatoes may irritate your bladder.

Do you love tomatoes? You might like them less after learning they may make your overactive bladder symptoms worse. That's because tomatoes are acidic. If you find your pasta dinner leads to overactive bladder at night, decrease or eliminate tomato-based products from your diet. Tomatoes aren't just in pasta sauce but also foods like chili and condiments like ketchup.

Do Cranberries Help or Hurt?

Cranberries may help fight UTIs, but they may increase OAB symptoms because they are acidic.

Cranberries are a mixed bag when it comes to your bladder. You may notice drinking cranberry juice helps ward off urinary tract infections, but the beverage may make you pee more often. Cranberries and cranberry juice are acidic and potential bladder irritants. Pay attention to how you feel when you ingest cranberries or cranberry juice. If they give you overactive bladder symptoms, you may need to back off. Decreasing your intake of acidic foods may also help decrease heartburn symptoms.

Alcohol and Bladder Control

If alcohol increases your bladder symptoms, you may need to cut back or stop drinking it.

Alcohol makes you urinate more. This is true whether you drink beer, liquor, or wine. Alcohol also impedes brain signals to the bladder regarding when you need to go. If you notice drinking alcohol increases bladder symptoms, cut back or stop drinking altogether.

Rethink Spices

Overactive bladder diet may require that you cut back on or eliminated spicy food.

If you want to eat a special diet for overactive bladder, rethink your consumption of spicy foods. Chili, spicy salsa, and wasabi can all irritate your bladder. If you suspect spices worsen overactive bladder symptoms, cut back and see if you feel better. You may need to eliminate offending spices all together.

Cut Back on Sweets

One home remedy for overactive bladder may involve cutting back on sweets.

Do you experience symptoms and signs of overactive bladder when you eat sugar or artificial sweeteners? Then it may be time to cut them out. Honey can lead to bladder issues, too. If you're not sure if there's a link between sweets and bladder symptoms in your case, cut sugar and artificial sweeteners out of your diet for a bit and see if it makes a difference.

Avoid Raw Onions

Skip raw onions and eat them cooked instead to minimize bladder irritation.

If you suffer from overactive bladder, bladder leakage, or incontinence, you may need to avoid raw onions, which can irritate the bladder. You may notice an improvement in your bladder symptoms by eating cooked onions instead. You may tolerate shallots better than raw onions because they are milder.

Some Fruits May Cause Problems

Apples, bananas, grapes, and plums are just a few fruits that may cause bladder irritation.

Citrus fruits can bring on overactive bladder symptoms, but so can grapes, apples, bananas, peaches, pineapple, plums, and strawberries. If you suspect any food is causing you to urinate more, do a test. Cut it out for a while and experiment with adding it back in later.

Aged Cheeses May Be Problematic

Aged cheeses and sour cream may make you have to go more often.

Dairy products can be bladder irritants. Sour cream and aged cheeses may be especially bad offenders. Luckily for you, there are tasty alternatives if your bladder can't handle real dairy products. Try imitation sour cream or nut cheeses. You could try processed cheese that is not aged. Your body may tolerate these choices better.

Prunes Have Positives and Negatives

Prunes are a potential bladder irritant.

There's an upside and a downside to prunes. They may be useful if you have constipation, but they may cause bladder irritation and increase overactive bladder symptoms. If you eat them as a constipation aid but they cause unwanted effects on your bladder, swap prunes out for more high-fiber foods. Peas and carrots are a good choice to help keep you regular.

Swap Condiments for Herbs

Swap out acidic condiments that irritate your bladder for fresh spices instead.

Acid and other ingredients in condiments like ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and mayonnaise may cause overactive bladder symptoms. Swap them out for spices that are not irritating like dill, rosemary, garlic, and thyme.

Home Cooked Meals Are Best

Processed foods contain many ingredients that can irritate your bladder.

Processed foods are loaded with preservatives, benzyl alcohol, artificial flavors, and MSG that irritate the bladder and may trigger overactive bladder symptoms. It's better to cook your meals from fresh food that you prepare yourself at home. Plan your meals around fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Do Some Detective Work

Woman holding a plate of barbecue food and salad.

Coffee, chocolate, soda, Thai food, oranges, and wine are potential bladder irritants. If you're consuming multiple kinds of foods and drinks daily that irritate your bladder, it might be difficult to know what's contributing to your issues. You may need to stop consuming all potentially irritating foods and beverages for a time to see if your symptoms improve. And then add these foods and beverages back into your diet one at a time to see if they trigger symptoms.

Urinary Incontinence: Foods and Drinks That Cause Overactive Bladder

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