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Potential Bladder Irritants
Food and Beverage Irritants
Some foods and beverages are thought to irritate the bladder lining, contributing to urinary urgency, frequency, and incontinence. How irritating each of these items is to the bladder lining is highly individual and can even change throughout a person’s life. It is recommended that you slowly reduce and eventually eliminate each of the following from your diet to see how it affects your bladder symptoms:
- Caffeinated beverages/food: coffee (regular and decaf), tea (regular and decaf), chocolate, colas, cough, and other medications
- Alcoholic beverages
- Acidic foods: tomato-based products, vinegar, citrus fruit, lemon water, etc.
- Citric fruits and juices
- Spicy food
- Carbonated beverages
- Artificial sweeteners
- Food colourings and flavourings
- Smoking can decrease the urethral sphincter function, as well as irritate the bladder lining and cause bladder contractions.
Concentrated Urine as an Irritant
Although it may be tempting to limit your water consumption in hopes that it will improve your bladder control, this may have the opposite effect for the following reasons:
- A decrease in liquid intake results in a decreased volume of urine. The smaller amount of urine may be more highly concentrated.
- Highly concentrated, dark yellow urine is irritating to the bladder lining and may cause increased urinary frequency.
- Not drinking enough water encourages the growth of bacteria, which may lead to infections resulting in increased urinary frequency, urgency, and potential leakage.
Other Important Facts:
- Your urine should be a pale lemonade colour and should not have a strong odour. There should be no burning or discomfort with urinating (if you experience burning, consult your physician for a potential infection).
- It is best to take fluids gradually throughout the day, instead of a large amount at any one time.
- Consume most of your fluids earlier in the day and avoid drinking 2 to 3 hours before bed, especially if you get up to urinate at night or have urgency first thing in the morning.