Foods To Avoid If You Have An Overactive Bladder
09 October, 2022
An overactive bladder is one that produces an urgent and sudden need to urinate.
Its a syndrome caused by the involuntary contraction of the muscles that surround this organ, which can produce the incontrollable escape of urine .
For those that suffer from this, it can be quite embarrassing, not only because its difficult to control but because the leakage of urine is embarrassing and can limit your social and work life.
The most worrying is that many people ignore the problem, not getting the right treatment, and develop severe incontinence and other urinary conditions.
Therefore, its important to know what measures to take to control it and what foods can have harmful effects when incorporated in your diet.
In this article, we will explain some of its main causes and 5 foods that its better to avoid to not have other complications.
Citrus Fruits And Juices
The citric acid in citrus fruits and juices can be a no-go for people who have overactive bladder. Acidic foods in general tend to be problematic, since the acid can lead to urine with a higher acid content. When more acidic urine sits in the bladder, it tends to irritate the bladder, which sets off the symptoms of OAB. You may develop some bladder spasms or have to go more urgently. You might even experience some leaks. With that in mind, avoid or reduce your consumption of:
Another possibility: try choosing low-acid juices if you absolutely cant bear the thought of permanently giving up the occasional cup of orange juice.
When Behavioral Overactive Bladder Remedies Arent Enough
Bladder training techniques , Kegel exercises, and dietary changes can be highly effective for managing OAB symptoms. However, for many people behavioral interventions arent enough. Doctors may look next to pharmaceutical treatments.
Medications are available to help improve bladder control and reduce leaks if incontinence is a factor. Your doctor will consider your unique symptoms, your overall medical history, and any other medications youre taking to determine the best drug for you. To ensure that you find a medication that works for your symptoms without too many detrimental side effects, some trial and error may be required before you find the right drug.
Finally, advanced therapies for OAB are available for patients whose symptoms are not resolved by behavioral therapies or medication. These overactive bladder solutions include Botox and sacral neuromodulation. Sacral neuromodulation can be delivered using The Axonics System.
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How Is Bladder Cancer Detected
Several different diagnostic tests can be used to detect bladder cancer. Often a combination of tests is selected, taking into account an individual patients symptoms and risk factors. They may include non-invasive tests carried out on urine samples, cystoscopy , and imaging techniques such as x-ray and ultrasound.
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The Relationship Between Your Diet And Overactive Bladder
Living with an overactive bladder means that you need to consider making some diet changes seriously. Over the years, doctors have concluded that there is a variety of foods and drinks that worsen OAB symptoms.
Some of them, such as alcohol, overstimulate the already sensitive bladder, thus making your bathroom visits more frequent. Others, such as spicy food, make the symptoms harder to control.
It is no surprise knowing how big of an effect diet has on our overall health, both physical and mental health. However, figuring out what exactly worsens your symptoms can take some time. This is, after all, a lengthy process that is unique for everyone. What may work for you does not necessarily mean that it will work for the next patient.
Knowing that you would need to experiment quite a lot when it comes to your diet. And this rule is not limited to food only. Instead, it also refers to drinks, including some of the most popular drinks such as coffee, alcohol, and even energy drinks.
One drink that many patients have divided feelings about is water. There is no doubt that water is the best drink for ultimate health. However, OAB patients still need to keep an eye on their water intake as well.
No matter how healthy it is, every drink can potentially worsen your symptoms. With the excessive amount of water, expect more frequent trips to the bathroom. And if you are drinking carbonated water, the symptoms are even worse.
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Oab: Drinks That May Increase The Urge To Go
One of the biggest OAB culprits is caffeine, which can make you urinate more. Studies show that reducing caffeine intake to below 100 milligrams per day — the amount in one cup of drip coffee — may help reduce urge incontinence symptoms.
Cut down or cut out these problem beverages:
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, colas, energy drinks, and teas
- Acidic fruit juices, especially orange, grapefruit, and tomato
- Carbonated beverages, sodas, or seltzers
- Drinks with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, which may irritate the bladder
If you can’t imagine starting your day without a morning cup of coffee, try to lower the amount of caffeine you take in. Make a cup that’s half decaf and half regular. You may want to wean yourself gradually to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches.
For fruit juice, try switching to something with less acid, such as apple or pear juice, and dilute it with water.
Soothe Bladder Pain With These Foods
If you suffer from Overactive Bladder , Bladder Pain Syndrome, or Interstitial Cystitis , youre probably familiar with the feeling of discomfort and urgency that accompanies normal, everyday activities. One way to soothe bladder pain and control these symptoms is through your diet. Eliminating irritating foods and eating soothing foods should dull some of your bladder pain.
According to the IC Network, there are several foods that can affect your bladder symptoms and soothe bladder pain.
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Skip Citrusy Or Caffeinated Sodas Irritate The Bladder
Sodas in general have been found to irritate the bladder in people with chronic bladder inflammation, and they could aggravate symptoms in someone with a bladder infection. Citrus-flavored sodas and caffeinated sodas are the culprits when it comes to worsening urinary tract infection symptoms. So, when youre struggling to overcome a bladder infection, stick to water or cranberry juice as your drink of choice.
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How Do I Do Kegel Exercises
To do Kegels:
If you are uncomfortable or uncertain about doing Kegel exercises on your own, a doctor or nurse can also teach you how to do Kegels. A pelvic floor physical therapist or other specialist may also be available in your area to help teach you how to strengthen these muscles.
Diet Light And No Sugar Added Products
Its not well known why artificial sweeteners are linked with bladder problems. If you notice your bladder irritation increases after eating foods with artificial sweeteners, its worth avoiding them to see if your symptoms improve.
Some foods that can have artificial sweeteners include light yogurts and other products, things labeled no sugar added, and diet products including diet sodas and other beverages.
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Overactive Bladder Can Be Managed
Though OAB is a chronic condition that has no cure, it can potentially be managed naturally with lifestyle interventions ranging from dietary changes to physical exercises. If youre diagnosed with OAB, your doctor will typically start by recommending these treatment approaches before considering advanced therapies. Keep reading to learn more about how behavioral and dietary interventions can help reduce OAB symptoms.
Relaxation Techniques And Exercises For Oab
Various treatment options are available to treat overactive bladder. For example, in addition to medication, lifestyle changes may help reduce the symptoms. Exercises that relax and strengthen the bladder are also useful.
Exercises that help relax the bladder muscles may help reduce symptoms of overactive bladder. In addition, performing exercises that strengthen the muscles and support the bladder may also help reduce urine leakage and incontinence.
It is best to talk with your healthcare provider to determine which exercises may be most beneficial. Below are examples of typical techniques and exercises for OAB.
1. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder. If you have an overactive bladder, weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to urine leakage.
To perform a Kegel, squeeze the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Hold the squeeze for about five seconds and relax. Repeat the exercise about five times. As the muscles get stronger, increase the duration to about 10 seconds. Perform Kegels a few times a day or as instructed by your doctor.
There are a few ways in which alcohol impacts overactive bladder symptoms.
2. Quick Contractions
Doing quick contractions of the pelvic floor muscles is a variation of Kegels. Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles quickly about 10 times in a row. The fast contractions signal the bladder to relax and may help with the urge to urinate.
3. Vaginal Strengthening
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Who Could Benefit From Pelvic Floor Exercises
People who have faecal incontinence or bowel leakage may be helped by doing some specific exercises for the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. These exercises could help improve the strength of the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles and improve bowel control. Talk to your healthcare professional before doing these exercises to see whether they could help you.
Pelvic Floor Exercises can help both men and women gain more control over bowel movements. These exercises are also used for men and women with bladder control problems.
Foods To Avoid If You Have Oab
Doctors have identified a number of foods and drinks that can worsen overactive bladders, including:
- Caffeinated beverages and foods
- Artificial sweeteners
When these foods and drinks collect in the bladder, it can cause irritation resulting in bladder muscle spasms. Those spasms can create the sudden urge to urinate and increase your frequency of urination. Because each person will react differently to trigger foods coffee might bother one person, while dairy can be problematic for someone else doctors suggest keep a food journal so you can see which foods affect you the most.
But there are certain beverages that are known to cause repeat trips to the bathroom. Even a moderate amount of alcohol, coffee, tea, or soda will increase the amount of urine your bladder must manage. Research published in September 2016 in the journal Current Urology showed nearly one-half of people over the age of 60 who drink more than 300 mg coffee a day suffer from overactive bladder symptoms, which is significantly higher than peers who do not consume large amounts of caffeine.
Also, chemicals in cigarettes have been shown to irritate the bladder and increase the risk of bladder cancer. Smoking can cause coughing spasms that increase problems with stress incontinence. The American Cancer Society offers extensive resources on quitting, noting smokers are at least 3 times more likely to get bladder cancer compared with nonsmokers.
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Cool Down On Spicy Foods
Spicy foods may taste great, but as many of us have experienced, they often lead to an upset stomach. Like caffeine, spicy foods work to irritate the bladder lining, causing an increased urgency to rush to the bathroom. If you love spice, you dont have to eliminate it from your diet but do your best to cut back on foods such as spicy Mexican dishes, hot wings, and horseradish.
Try This: If you cant live without the flavor in your life, speak with your healthcare provider to see what you can use to replace spicy foods.
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Foods For Bladder Health
Nutrition is a complex topic, and there is no one size fits all bladder diet. However, several foods are recognized as being bladder irritants and others may have a soothing effect on sensitive bladders. It is helpful to be aware of these foods, but keep in mind that the irritating or soothing effects they may have are mainly relevant to conditions such as OAB and interstitial cystitis.
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How To Exercise Your Pelvic Floor
Go slowSlowly tighten and pull up your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can and for as long as you can, then rest for four seconds and repeat. Build up gradually until you can do 10 slow contractions at a time, holding them for 10 seconds each with rests of four seconds in between.
Quick contractionsTo get your pelvic floor muscles into shape so that they can react quickly to sudden stresses, such as coughing, laughing or exercising, practice drawing in the muscles quickly, holding them for just a second before relaxing. Build up to 10 quick contractions in succession.
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Should I Do Kegel Exercises
Many factors, including pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, and getting older, can weaken pelvic floor muscles. If these muscles are weak, you may start to leak small amounts of urine, stool, or gas.
Kegel exercises strengthen these muscles, helping you to stop these leaks.1,2 Studies suggest that pelvic floor muscle training may also improve sexual function.3,4
Pelvic floor muscle training can help both women and men. But in some cases, practicing these exercises may not be a good option. Check with your health care professional before you begin.
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Overactive Bladder And Urgency Incontinence
Overactive bladder is a common type of urinary incontinence characterized by an urgent need to urinate. When your bladder is healthy, youre able to wait to urinate when your brain signals your body that your bladder is full. With overactive bladder, you cant wait and you may feel an urgent need to go even when your bladder isnt full.
Also called urgency incontinence, overactive bladder affects more than 40 percent of women and 30 percent of men in the United States. In addition to a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, symptoms of overactive bladder may include:
Leaking urine when you feel a sudden need to go
Urinating frequently throughout the day
Waking from sleep to urinate more than once a night, also called nocturia.
Do Some Detective Work
Coffee, chocolate, soda, Thai food, oranges, and wine are potential bladder irritants. If youre consuming multiple kinds of foods and drinks daily that irritate your bladder, it might be difficult to know whats contributing to your issues. You may need to stop consuming all potentially irritating foods and beverages for a time to see if your symptoms improve. And then add these foods and beverages back into your diet one at a time to see if they trigger symptoms.
- Interstitial Cystitis Association: Least and Most Bothersome Foods.
- The Johns Hopkins Center for Pelvic Health: Bladder Irritants.
- Amano Artisan Chocolate: How Much Caffeine is in Chocolate?
- AUA Foundation: Loss of Bladder Control.
- Cleveland Clinic: Bladder Irritating Foods,Overactive Bladder.
- Columbia Health: Go Ask Alice.
- Cystitis & Overactive Bladder Foundation: OAB Diet.
- Duke Health: Water, Water Everywhere.
- FEMA Ready.gov: Managing Water.
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