Many people suffer from an over active bladder or chronic urinary tract infections that can wreak havoc on their lives, causing sudden urges to urinate as well as painful urination. Certain foods and beverages can cause these symptoms to worsen greatly as your bladder is sensitive to certain irritants that can cause the intense need to void. Taking the time to remove trigger foods from your diet can help you to avoid the need for sudden bathroom breaks or painful urination. Here are some of the common foods that you should remove or add from your diet to ensure the best bladder health possible.
Foods to Avoid
- Coffee: Caffeine has been shown to irritate your bladder and cause urinary tract infection flare symptoms so it is wise to skip caffeinated coffee in the morning and find something else to perk you up. Research has shown that coffee drinkers who suffer from chronic inflammation in their bladder tend to have worse symptoms then those who drink decaffeinated coffee. When you are suffering from a flare you should try herbal teas until it has cleared up and then only drink coffee sparingly after your symptoms have lessened.
- Alcohol: Most people know that alcoholic beverages will causes stomach irritation for those with ulcers or reflex, but not as many are aware that it can severely irritate your bladder as well. Alcohol is a diuretic and a bladder stimulant, which can cause you to have feelings of urgency and pain when you need to urinate.
- Tomato Products: Studies have shown that the acid levels in tomato products can irritate the bladder and cause uncomfortable symptoms. Removing most pasta sauces and ketchups will help to cut down on overactive bladder symptoms.
- Orange Juice: This beverage should be avoided for similar reasons to tomato products, as the high level of acids causes uncomfortable symptoms in those who have bladder concerns. You should avoid grapefruit and their juice as well, but do not avoid items such as apples and pears as these will provide you with needed nutrients as well as prevent constipation.
- Artificial sugars: Some research has shown a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and issues with the bladder. Studies showed that those who drank beverages that were sweetened with artificial sugars daily experienced increased bladder issues and more UTI’s when compared to those who consumed drinks that had regular sugar.
- Spicy foods: While the studies about spicy food and bladder issues are not definitive, enough participants have reported issues with spicy food that it should be mentioned. It is not completely clear why spicy foods can have a negative effect on the bladder but it is wise to eliminate it from your diet to see if it has an effect. Some research has shown that spicy food can irritate the lining of the bladder and increase the need to urinate, as well as causing general pain during urination similar to a UTI. Try removing all spicy food for a week to see if there are any changes.
- Dairy: Dairy is another product that has mixed results, with some reporting issues and others finding no problem at all. Many individuals who have a related condition called interstitial cystitis (chronic inflammation of the bladder coupled with a frequent need to urinate) will avoid dairy products so this is another food that you should test to see if you are sensitive to it.
What to Add
- More water: Ensuring that you have the proper fluid intake is vitally important for those who are suffering from chronic urinary tract infections or overactive bladders. While you don’t want to have to be using the restroom all the time you do want to be able to flush any bacteria out while avoiding becoming dehydration. Make sure that you are consuming the daily recommendation of water and continue to drink if you feel thirsty, with water being the best beverage for you.
- Fruits and Vegetables: The minerals and vitamins that are in fruits and vegetables are crucial for your overall health and will help your urinary system to function at its best. With most vegetables and fruits being high in fibers and low in calories you will be able to maintain a healthy weight, which is also helpful for you bladder functions. Stay away from citrus fruits such as oranges and tomatoes as the acid levels can exacerbate your bladder issues.
- Whole Grains: Fiber is an important part of your diet so you should be sure to consume a diet that is rich in whole grains to keep your bowels as regular as possible. When you have full bowels they can press against your bladder causing you to need to use the restroom more frequently, so fiber to move out waste is an important diet for those who are struggling with bladder issues.
- Yogurt: If you have already checked to ensure that you don’t have any issues with dairy then you should focus on including yogurt or other fermented dairy products in your daily diet. Studies have shown that these foods can decrease your risk of UTI’s by up to eighty percent while also reducing your risk for bladder cancer.
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes: These foods are high in fiber, just like grain, and will help your body to stay regular which should relieve some of your bladder issues. The more unprocessed these foods are, the more effective that they will be. Focus on split peas, black beans, kidney beans, and lentil to ensure that you will have the best health possible.
While altering your diet can help you to manage your symptoms it cannot cure you of an overactive bladder or issues related to chronic urinary tract infections, however; choosing to avoid trigger foods will help you to adjust your bathroom habits to have a more pain and irritant free life. You may be able to manage some of your symptoms by investing in some changes to your diet that will provide relief for an irritated bladder while supporting the rest of your waste system.