Bladder Irritants

Ever wondered how what we put into our bodies affects bladder health? Or noticed you go out for a nice dinner and drinks, only to find yourself paying for it the next day with increased incontinence or pain? If you have ever experienced the above, you are not crazy! There is a logical correlation between what you are experiencing and what you ate. It is proven that certain foods and beverages have a tendency to irritate the bladder more than others and cause worsening urinary incontinence. It is believed that they are harsh on the smooth muscle lining the wall of the bladder, and irritate this area, causing contractions that lead to leakage and or bladder pain.

Common bladder irritants include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee (even without caffeine)
  • Tea (even without caffeine)
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomato-based foods
  • Certain acidic fruits and fruit juices
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages (even without caffeine)
  • Sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • Milk and milk products

Fruit and fruit juices include grapefruits, lemons, oranges and limes. Spicy food examples are Mexican food, Chili or others associated with a lot of spice and “hotness”. Common artificial sweeteners to watch out for are aspartame, fructose, sucrose, saccharin and corn sweeteners. Milk product examples include cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese and yogurt.

It is recommended that if you suffer from incontinence or pain, these irritants be removed completely from your diet. If bladder irritants are a problem, then once removed from your system, you should feel better in about 10 days.

Realizing that many of these food items are probably your “favorites” and removing them takes a lot of the fun away from eating, the good news is that all of these substances may not need to stay removed from your diet. It is important to discover the ones that are specific to you.

Discovering which bladder irritants are specific to you is simple. Once feeling better, you can add the substances back into your diet one at a time to determine which ones are specifically affecting you. If, when added back in, the food item doesn’t make your symptoms worse again, then you are probably safe to go ahead and eat or drink that item moving forward.

Although none of us like not getting to eat foods we love and enjoy, many times it is worth it to feel better. There are also replacements foods that can be used. Take it from these two people who have gone through it:

“I loved wine, chocolate and spicy foods, but when I found out they were a culprit to my incontinence they became not worth it anymore. I don’t even want them now, because I know how they make me feel.” – Renee, who had been suffering from urinary incontinence and pelvic pain for years

“I started drinking Kava to replace coffee and found a new herbal tea I love that works for me, instead of the tea I was drinking before.” –Jeanette, an avid coffee and tea drinker who found out they were worsening her symptoms.

Questions? Give me a call 816-607-3747 or message. I’m always happy to chat.


Dr. Katy Rush

The Perfect Pelvis

"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Back To Workouts and Sports They Enjoy without surgery, stopping activities they love, or relying on pain medicine."