When you or a loved one suffers from overactive bladder, diet can be a tricky subject. Food has significant cultural and social ties, but reducing your go-to foods is a sacrifice that we sometimes need to make to give our body the fuel it needs to regulate the urinary system.
Often, an overactive bladder is a symptom of another health condition or situation, such as aging, giving birth, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or prostate cancer. It is a common issue that impacts many adults around the world, so if you’re suffering, know that you are not alone and there are some things you can do to help ease your symptoms.
Focusing on a healthy overactive bladder diet is one of the first steps. Here is a basic guide on what foods you should be eating, and which you should stay away from – at least in moderation.
Why is an Overactive Bladder Diet Important?
There are many things you can do to help reduce your symptoms and decrease the frequency of accidents, such as kegel exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor. However, it’s very important to monitor what you eat and drink, since this has a direct impact on your urinary system.
Certain foods have a trigger-like impact on an overactive bladder, which can lead to an increased risk for leaks or accidents.
What to Eat: Fiber is Your Friend
The key to creating a proper overactive bladder diet plan is focusing on healthy, whole foods and lots of fruit and vegetables. Foods that are high in fiber are very beneficial for those who suffer from an overactive bladder because fiber helps reduce constipation, which puts strain on your bladder.
Some great fiber-rich foods that can easily fit into your diet include almonds, oats, bran, and beans. Protein is also an important food to add to your diet, while also helping you improve your overall health at the same time. Good sources of protein you can add to your diet include eggs, tofu, chicken, and fish. Look out for foods that are rich in vitamin D as well, as some studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is linked to frequent urination.
Stick to non-acidic and fiber-rich fruits like blueberries, watermelon, bananas, coconuts, raspberries, and strawberries. Ideal vegetable choices are asparagus, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, artichokes, and peppers. These fruits and veggies provide many other essential nutrients to keep you healthy and strong, so try to fit them in your diet as often as possible.
What to Avoid: Steer Clear of These Trigger Foods
When it comes to constructing your overactive bladder diet, it’s more important that you know what to avoid eating in order to prevent potential triggers. Here are some foods known to trigger overactive bladder symptoms:
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a diuretic, which can lead to an increased flow of urine in the bladder, thus resulting in stronger and more frequent urges to urinate.
- Carbonated beverages:
- Acidic or citrus fruits: Certain citrus fruits, such as tomatoes, lemons, and oranges, can irritate the bladder and cause you to experience some pain during urination.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is also a diuretic and can lead to excess urinary production if consumed regularly.
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine, and is therefore a diuretic.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods, such as chili peppers and wasabi, are common triggers for bladder irritation.
- Raw onion: Uncooked onions can have the same effect on your bladder as spicy foods, but cooking them can decrease those effects. Keep consumption in moderation, though.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Some artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes can irritate the bladder and make overactive bladder symptoms worse.
- Salty foods: Salt can cause bloating and water retention, which puts additional pressure on the bladder. It can also leave you feeling thirsty, which can lead to overconsumption of fluids and higher flow in the bladder.
In Summary: The Key Takeaways
This may seem like a lot of information you need to pay attention to, and overactive bladder diet symptoms are different from person to person. However, with practice, you’ll learn to know your body’s triggers and how your body reacts to certain foods.
Sometimes this will take a little bit of experimentation, so try to keep a food diary where you can record what you eat, when you eat it, and the symptoms you experience after eating. This may help you determine which foods you need to avoid entirely, and which ones you can still enjoy in moderation.