An estimated 33 million Americans deal with an overactive bladder. While there are pelvic exercises and bladder training programs and dozens of different medicines, you can also adjust what you eat to help regain control of your urinary tract. Here’s a look at how to adjust your diet if you’re living with an overactive bladder.
Making Healthy Choices
One of the best things you can do for almost any chronic condition, overactive bladder issues included, is to keep yourself at a healthy weight. Obesity seems to play a huge role in overactive bladder issues, most particularly in forms of stress or mixed incontinence OAB. Abdominal fat, in particular, can put extra stress and pressure on the bladder, making symptoms worse. The added weight may also put additional strain on the muscles and supportive tissues surrounding the bladder.
Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water (just not right before bed), and start a gentle exercise regime until your doctor gives you the okay for more strenuous exercises. The greater the obesity, the more of an impact it is likely to have on an overactive bladder.
What Not to Drink
Beverages with caffeine or alcohol have a tendency to make you urinate more frequently, acting as a diuretic and essentially forcing you to have to go to the bathroom more than your normally would, even with an overactive bladder. Furthermore, coffee and alcohol are bladder irritants. Soda should also be avoided -- caffeinated or not, as the bubbly fizz doesn’t disappear once it goes down your throat.
Avoiding Bladder Irritants
You don’t eat spicy foods when you have an upset stomach, and for the same reason, you should avoid them if you have an overactive bladder. Experts suspect spicy foods are just as likely to irritate the lining of the urinary system as they are the bowels. Acidic foods can also be an issue for the same reason. Even cranberry juice, which is good for bladder infections, can be problematic for an overactive bladder, as well as citrus juices (i.e. orange or grapefruit) and tomatoes or their products. Oddly, some research suggests that milk, too, contains an irritant that can make overactive bladder symptoms worse.
Say No to Sweet Things
Sugar and artificial sweeteners are also OAB instigators. Whether you use standard sugar, sweet and low, or a dollop of honey to sweeten things up, you may be making your troubles worse. Try cutting sugars out of your diet to see if it alleviates any of your symptoms. If it doesn’t, it may not be an issue for you. Just remember how very many things sugars tend to crop up in large amounts. Everyone’s body is different so even though cutting some things might cure your neighbor’s overactive bladder, it might not work for you. Nonetheless, it can’t hurt to try and it may go a long way towards relieving symptoms.