Foods and Drinks That Make You Gotta Go
Beer, wine, liquor — alcohol in any form makes you need to pee more. It also interferes with brain signals to the bladder about when to go. So if you have overactive bladder (OAB), also called urinary “urge incontinence,” limit how much alcohol you drink or stop altogether.
Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks, Colas
Caffeine can lead to more bathroom visits, too. Drinks that have it also contain acid, which can bother the bladder. Try decaf drinks, low-acid coffees, and non-citrus herbal teas.
Bad news: Chocolate has caffeine and acid. So eat less of it, and don’t snack on it late in the evening. You could try white chocolate instead, since it has little or no caffeine.
Citrus Fruits & Juices
Oranges, grapefruits, clementines, lemons, and limes are all acidic and can irritate your bladder, even when you just drink their juice. If you think a certain food might be setting off your symptoms, stop eating it for a while, then slowly add small amounts back in to your diet to see if things change.
You may find that this fruit isn’t your friend either. That’s because — you guessed it — pineapple is acidic, just like citrus. If you’re looking to add some Caribbean perk to a dish, use shredded coconut instead.
This acidic red fruit can also trigger the urge to go. You may have to cut back on tomato-based foods like spaghetti sauce, chili, and ketchup, too.
They help some people avoid getting bladder and urinary tract infections. But cranberry juice and the berries themselves could spell trouble, because they’re acidic. Another perk of eating less acidic foods? It may help tame heartburn.
Fizzy soft drinks, club soda, seltzer, and “sparkling” waters may irritate sensitive bladders. If your taste runs to Champagne, keep in mind that both the fizz and the alcohol could trigger problems.
Four-alarm chili. Fiery salsa. Wasabi. Hot eats like these may do more than tingle your taste buds or make your eyes water. You can dial down the spiciness without making your diet bland, though. Just test out how much heat you can handle without affecting your bathroom habits. It may take some trial and error. Everyone’s tolerance is different.
Artificial sweeteners and sugar may set off your symptoms. Take a break from them and see what happens.
Cook onions to make them easier on your bladder. You could also switch to the milder, onion-like shallot instead.
Banana, Grapes, and Apples
It’s not just citrus fruits that can trigger the need to pee. Other fruits like apples, bananas, and grapes could be to blame, too.
Aged Cheese and Sour Cream
Some people find that these creamy, rich treats make OAB symptoms worse. If your bladder can’t handle the real things, switch to imitation sour cream or processed non-aged cheese.
If you’re taking medication for OAB, prunes can help you manage the constipation that may go along with it. But these sweet, dried fruits can bug your bladder. One way to help handle constipation is to get more fiber. So eat plenty of fiber-rich produce such as peas and carrots.
Soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, mayonnaise… Lots of condiments contain acids or other problem ingredients. Give your meals zing with bladder-friendly spices like rosemary, dill, thyme, and garlic instead.
Artificial flavors, preservatives, and additives like MSG and benzyl alcohol may irritate the bladder. Read nutrition labels carefully to avoid them. Another good way to control what’s in your food is to cook at home more often. Use fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that you know won’t bother you.
Do Some Detective Work
Let’s say you have an orange with breakfast, a soda with lunch, a chocolate bar as a mid-afternoon snack, and spicy Thai food with a nice glass of wine for dinner. That may sound yummy, but any of those things might affect your bladder. What are you supposed to do — give them all up at once? Not necessarily. Try this instead: Remove one possible trigger food at a time from your diet, and pay attention to what happens.
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