What Not to Eat for a Healthy Bladder

Foods to Avoid: What Not to Eat for a Healthy Bladder 

Your morning cup of coffee, that evening glass of wine, or even a glass or orange juice with your breakfast — all of these could affect your continence health if you’re experiencing bladder problems, such as overactive bladder (OAB) or other types of urinary incontinence. Although you may not consider it, everything you eat and drink gets filtered by the body and then turns into fuel or waste, which could either help or exacerbate the problem. Learn the top foods to avoid and how you can naturally improve your bladder health at home.

Understanding Bladder Irritation 

Bladder irritation describes an inflammatory process where the lining of the bladder becomes inflamed or irritated. Certain foods and beverages can lead to this inflammatory response, causing symptoms such as: 

  • Frequent urination: you may have to get up and pee more than normal, even if you’re not drinking a lot of fluids.
  • Urgency to go: Urge incontinence (overactive bladder) describes the sudden and strong urge to use the bathroom that may result in leaks.
  • Painful urination: You may experience pain or discomfort when passing urine. 
  • Pelvic pain: You may feel pain or discomfort in your lower abdomen or pelvic region.
  • Abnormal urine: A telltale sign that your bladder is inflamed is noticing cloudy-colored urine or blood in the toilet after you urinate.
  • A strong smell: A very strong, foul smell after you urinate may indicate that the bladder is inflamed.

Foods Known to Irritate the Bladder 

Inflammatory foods can cause bladder inflammation, specifically if you consume certain things frequently. There’s a long list of foods and beverages to keep in mind if you have bladder issues. Be sure to note: some foods and drinks may affect your body differently than the next person, so it’s recommended to keep a food diary to discover which foods affect you the most. You don’t have to cut all of these foods out completely, but record what happens when you cut down on certain items.

Foods That Are the Main Offenders

  • Coffee & caffeinated beverages: Caffeine is a diuretic, which increases urine production and can irritate the bladder lining.
  • Alcohol: Also a diuretic, alcohol is very acidic and harsh on the body, causing many symptoms, such as inflammation.
  • Acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus: Acid found in citrus fruits (such as limes, grapefruit, etc.), tomatoes, and other foods have an inflammatory effect. 
  • Carbonated beverages: The carbonation in sodas and bubbly water creates an inflammatory response in the bladder.
  • Spicy foods: For some people, the intensity and acidity in spicy foods will irritate the lining of the bladder.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Processed and fake sweeteners found in diet sodas and other candy products can irritate the lining of the bladder.
  • High-sugar foods: Sugar can stimulate the bladder, causing sudden urges and leaks. Try to steer clear of any candy or baked goods that have an overabundance of white sugar added.
  • Chocolate: Pure, dark chocolate can have a diuretic effect because of its caffeine content, much like coffee or tea (plus, it’s acidic).
  • Cranberries & prunes: Although cranberries and prunes can help you “go” and support bladder health, an overabundance (or juices with too much sugar) may create the opposite effect.
  • Raw onions: Raw onions are very acidic and inflammatory, so it’s wise to cook them thoroughly or opt for shallots instead.

Why These Foods Cause Irritation 

Many of the beverages above are diuretics, which increase the production of urine. When the body makes more urine, the bladder fills up faster, leading to more frequent urination or an urge to go more often. This constant bladder stimulation can irritate the bladder lining, causing inflammation. Secondly, diuretics can create more concentrated urine, which contains more waste products and irritants, aggravating the bladder even more. 

Spicy and acidic foods such as tomatoes, peppers, citrus, and even ketchup, for example, can also create irritation in the bladder. The pH of urine is already acidic, so adding more acidity to your diet will create even more acidic urine, which may over time irritate the bladder lining. And, some people have more sensitive bladders, so any irritant can cause heightened effects. 

Lastly, too much sugar can contribute to an irritated bladder due to the body trying to expel that excess sugar, which will cause more frequent urination. This constant stimulation can create issues over time and even lead to UTIs due to creating an environment in the body where bacteria can thrive. 

Foods That Support Bladder Health 

If you’re worried about what to eat to ensure a healthy bladder, we’ve provided a thorough list of foods to keep in mind when you go to the grocery store. Focus on whole and organic foods when possible, such as:

  • Bananas 
  • Blueberries 
  • Watermelon 
  • Pears
  • Avocados 
  • Almonds 
  • Asparagus
  • Cashews
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Lentils
  • Leafy greens
  • Potatoes
  • Squash 
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats 
  • Eggs 
  • Fish 
  • Lean cuts of proteins (steak and chicken) 
  • Herbal tea 
  • Low-caffeine coffee alternatives
  • Water

Other Dietary Considerations for Bladder Health 

When it comes to creating a healthy environment for your bladder, hydration is key. Drink plenty of spring or purified water throughout the day, especially when you first wake up, and focus on consuming whole foods, not processed foods. Water helps dilute urine and flush out toxins to keep the bladder operating smoothly. Focus on eating healthy fats, getting enough protein, and consuming enough whole grain fiber. 

How Parentgiving Can Help 

You may have never thought about bladder care until now, and here at Parentgiving, we have a team of experts to help guide you on your path. From a wide selection of premium incontinence products to educational articles, we help you through life’s transitions, no matter what’s going on for you or your loved one. Explore more at today.