Is your diet affecting your constant urge to urinate?

Is your diet affecting your constant urge to urinate?

Do you find yourself going to the bathroom more than usual? Your food and beverage choices may be to blame. Research shows that carbonated drinks and foods with high sugar and acid may contribute to urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence is the result of an overactive bladder, or OAB, which affects close to 33 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Association for Continence (NAFC).

“With OAB, too many trips to the bathroom can often disrupt one’s lifestyle,” says Stephanie Kates, a pelvic floor physical therapist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “It can affect work and social life or may lead to the fear of not having a bathroom close by.”

But there’s no need to be discouraged, as there are ways to ease the urge. Reducing the amount of dietary irritants can help with regaining control of your bladder, according to the NAFC and Kates.

Here are a few of their tips:

  • Carbonated drinks that include club soda, seltzer water and soda can prompt the need to go. Bladder irritants also include beverages that are acidic and caffeinated, like coffee and tea. Alcohol can interfere with the brain’s signal to the bladder, thus triggering the need to pee more often. “One of the key things to do is to make sure that you are steadily getting 6-8 glasses of fluids a day, preferably water,” Kates stresses. “Keep in mind that restricting fluids is not healthy or usually successful with preventing bathroom trips.” She suggests switching out irritable beverages for low acid alternatives like:
    • Juice: grape and apple juice
    • Coffee: KAVA®, Postum®, Pero® and Kaffree Roma®
    • Tea: Non-citrus herbal & sun-brewed tea
  • Be on the lookout for any additives to your food. Food colorings, condiments, sweeteners and spices can have a negative impact on the bladder.
  • Chocolate has both caffeine and acid; be sure to eat it in smaller quantities. White chocolate is a great alternative, as it has very little caffeine.
  • Milk and milk-based products like aged cheeses and sour cream can make OAB symptoms worse. Switch them out with imitation or lactose-free products.
  • Some fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, pineapple, cranberries and tomatoes are high in acidity and should be consumed in moderation. Substitutes include pears, apricots, papaya and watermelon.

Kates explains that in addition, pelvic muscle exercises, or kegels, are one of the best ways to maintain the muscles around the bladder in order to improve control and reduce urgency. If you find that you are making trips to the bathroom at inconvenient times, try to set a schedule for yourself to help train and regulate your bladder. “Repetition is key to help our bodies relearn patterns and to regain direct control over the pelvic muscles,” Kates indicates.

If you find that urinary incontinence or OAB is still disrupting your everyday life, schedule an appointment with your doctor to find the best treatment for you. In more severe cases, injections, such as botox, nerve stimulation, and surgery might be considered.

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About the Author

Emma Salvino
Emma Salvino

Emma Salvino, health enews contributor, is a marketing intern at Advocate BroMenn in Bloomington, IL. She is close to earning her BA in English, with a writing concentration, from Illinois Wesleyan University. Emma enjoys exploring new places, binge watching shows on Netflix, and spending time with loved ones.

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