Many women are surprised to learn how dramatically what they eat and drink can affect an overactive bladder and bladder weakness. In fact, women who are experiencing problems with an overactive bladder and bladder weakness can often find some relief just by changing their diet.
According to an article on Everyday Health, changing what and when you eat and drink can make you less likely to have bladder weakness or leaking bladder issues. Doctors have identified a number of foods and drinks that can worsen an overactive bladder and bladder weakness, including:
- Caffeinated beverages and foods
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Carbonated beverages
- Milk and milk products
- Sugar or honey
- Artificial sweeteners
These foods and drinks contain irritants that when collected in the bladder can cause bladder muscles to spasm. Those spasms can create the sudden urge to urinate and increase your frequency of urination, meaning more opportunity for bladder weakness and leaking bladder problems.
Caffeine and alcohol are well-known diuretics and make your kidneys produce more urine. Even a moderate amount of alcohol, coffee, tea, or soda will increase the amount of urine your bladder manages. Also, studies have shown that four cups of coffee a day will increase urinary urgency in most women.
So if avoiding certain foods can help relieve overactive bladder problems, are there things that you can consume that will help improve bladder functionality? Yes, claims Jean Fourcroy, MD, a Washington, D.C. Urologist and former Food and Drug Administration medical examiner.
Dr. Fourcroy recommends tackling bladder weakness by making your diet as simple as possible. “Very often, I have my patients start off with cream of wheat and baby food and then add back little by little to see what causes problems,” she says.
Her recommendations include a number of juices that won’t irritate your bladder, including apple, grape, cherry, and cranberry juices. These juices help by making urine more acidic, preventing the spread of bacteria and controlling urine odor. Also drink plenty of water, which is the best way to hydrate your body.
She also suggests that you should drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid every day. If you drink less, your urine might become concentrated and irritate your bladder. If you drink more, you might overtax your bladder and make matters worse. To further ease your overactive bladder, avoid drinking a lot of fluid at one time. Sip two or three ounces every 20 to 30 minutes between meals. Cutting off fluid intake a few hours prior to bedtime also will help.
Discover more helpful tips for getting relief from an overactive bladder and bladder weakness by downloading our FREE special report 5 Keys to Manage a Leaking Bladder or Overactive Bladder for Women Over 50.