If your bladder isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when planning your dinner menu, consider yourself lucky. People with overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) typically need to think of their situation when they decide on what to eat or drink, as certain foods and drinks can trigger their symptoms.
Experts always warn that each bladder is individual. What triggers your overactive bladder may not be the same thing that begins someone else’s. But there are some foods that most people should try to avoid, as they are usually associated with triggering overactive bladder:
Citrus fruits. Oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are acidic and can irritate the bladder. (Also pineapple.) This also applies to citrus juices. Switch to a non-acidic fruit such as bananas, pears or berries. Some people can tolerate low-acid versions of orange juice and other juices as well, and some people will take apples and apple juice as an alternative.
Tomatoes. Bid goodbyes to tomatoes and tomato-based products, such as salsa and spaghetti sauce. They are also irritants and can make overactive bladder worse. Some grocery stores sell low-acid tomato products, or you can opt for fruits such as pears or blueberries.
Beverages containing caffeine. You may need to avoid coffee, certain sodas, and black tea – substances known to contain caffeine, which unfortunately can be a bladder irritant. And even the decaffeinated versions still have small amounts of caffeine. Switch to green tea or another non-caffeinated drink.
Chocolate. Get ready. Chocolate also contains caffeine, so this is another element to avoid. If you can’t give up on chocolate, try to eat only small amounts.
Diet soda. Some research suggests that aspartame, which sweetens diet sodas, may also lead to more frequent urges to urinate. Besides, they are carbonated, which is another possible trigger for OAB. Opt for water or non-citrus juice to moisten the whistle.
Other drinks and foods containing artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners can make you feel like you need to run to the bathroom more often.
Spicy foods. Again, this depends from person to person. But if a spicy dish is causing you problems, try something with a little less heat to lessen the acidity.
Are you hesitant to give up some favourite foods, even though you’re not sure how they’ll affect your bladder? For a week, try to eliminate one item at a time and then reintroduce it. If your symptoms do not return, you can probably start eating this food again.
Get Plenty of Fiber
Eat more fibre. This is advice you’ve probably heard before, for a variety of reasons. A particularly good reason for increasing your fibre intake is that it allows your bowels to function appropriately and regularly. Constipation tends to make symptoms of overactive bladder worse by putting extra pressure and stress on the bladder.
Watch your diet closely to see if you are eating enough foods high in fibre to avoid constipation. Good sources of dietary fibre include:
- Whole-grain loaves of bread and pasta
- Oatmeal Bran Cereal
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Manage your liquid consumption wisely
Managing your fluid intake can be a tricky balancing act. Drinking too much can trigger your overactive bladder. But if you drink less, your highly concentrated urine can also irritate your bladder – as well as provide the breeding ground for bacteria that could lead to a urinary tract infection. Set a manageable goal of around six glasses of liquid per day. Try to drink mainly liquids that are gentle on the bladder, such as water or cranberry juice, or grape juice.
Now you know all the typical changes to your diet. You’ve eliminated your trigger foods, and you’ve done your best to drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fibre. But you still continuously run to the bathroom. However, diet changes cannot fix everything. Talk to your doctor about strategies for retraining your bladder. Your doctor may always want to make sure nothing else is helping your particular case, so you may need a physical exam to rule out other issues. You may also be a good candidate for some medications to keep your bladder functioning usually.
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