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Healthy Bladder Through Diet

Dietary Habits for Good Bladder Health

What you eat and drink can affect the health of your bladder. Avoiding irritating food and beverages and drinking an optimal amount of fluid are two important considerations.

Fluid Intake

  • Too much fluid can overfill the bladder.
  • Too little fluid can irritate the bladder and promote infection.
  • Drink enough fluid to stay hydrated (about four 8-ounce glasses per day).
  • Drink most fluids during the day; limit fluids in the evening.

Caffeine Intake

  • Too much caffeine can stimulate the bladder and act as a diuretic, causing you to urinate more often.
  • Limit caffeine from products such as soft drinks, coffee, tea and chocolate.

Alcohol Intake

  • Alcohol can interfere with the signals that tell your bladder when to release urine and when to hold it.
  • Alcohol acts as a diuretic and causes dehydration.
  • Eliminate alcohol from your diet for a few weeks. Slowly reintroduce it into your diet to determine how much you can tolerate.

Spicy Foods

  • Spicy foods can irritate the lining of the bladder.
  • Try spicy foods in moderation to determine if they affect you.

Acidic Foods and Beverages

  • Foods high in acid can irritate the lining of the bladder.
  • Reduce or eliminate foods and beverages such as citrus fruits and tomato-based products.

Carbonated Beverages

  • Carbonated beverages, even if they have no caffeine, can irritate a sensitive bladder.
  • Reduce or eliminate carbonated beverages.

High-Fiber Diet

  • Constipation can make bladder symptoms worse.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains to promote colon health.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

  • Being over weight can weaken pelvic floor muscles.
  • Follow a meal plan to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.

Diet Tips for Managing Painful Bladder Syndrome

Painful bladder syndrome, also known as interstitial cystitis, is thought to be an inflammation of the bladder wall. Identifying and avoiding trigger foods will help control flare-ups.

Simple Exclusion Diet

Use the following six-step simple exclusion diet to identify trigger foods that provoke severe bladder symptoms. Some trigger foods may cause symptoms in minutes; others may take more time to cause a reaction.

  1. Identify trigger foods that you suspect may be creating your painful bladder syndrome symptoms.
  2. Eliminate these foods for one to three weeks and watch for symptoms to improve.
  3. Once symptoms have improved, reintroduce one of the foods into your diet in small amounts over a one-week period.
  4. If no symptoms occur, you can tolerate this food.
  5. Repeat this process with other suspected trigger foods.
  6. If you have symptoms after reintroducing a suspected trigger food to your diet, avoid that food in the future.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

  • Because it is acidic, vitamin C may cause painful bladder syndrome flare-ups. Ester-C ® may be a good alternative because it is acid-neutralized.
  • B-complex vitamins can cause painful bladder syndrome flare-ups. Try taking B vitamins individually.
  • Choose individual vitamins rather than multivitamins.

Dining Out

  • Ask that possible trigger foods be excluded from your order.
  • Inquire about ingredients and spices.
  • Look for food that is simply prepared.
  • Avoid ethnic foods. The spices may irritate your bladder.
  • Ask for plain meats prepared without marinades.
View a list of possible trigger foods.