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How to Improve Bladder Health with Your Diet

By Aleece Fosnight September 03, 2022 Health and Fitness

Many people assume that improving your bladder starts with just improving your pelvic floor and drinking water. And while those two are extremely important to one’s overall bladder function, there are still many other ways to keep your bladder healthy.

Not to mention, in order to alleviate any irritabilities in the bladder, one must also alleviate any stressors around the kidneys and bowels. There is a whole system at play when it comes to urination and how we feel every day, and focusing on just one aspect will not have the same results as maintaining an individual’s whole urinary health.

So, what other ways can we combat bladder irritants? One step you can take is by altering your diet!

What Foods to Avoid if Bladder Problems Persist

There are three main food and beverage groups that people should limit or modify when experiencing irritating bladder symptoms: citrus, caffeine, and spicy. High citrus foods are known to increase urinary citrate, which can cause the sensation of having to urinate more than usual. Caffeine, on the other hand, can impact the muscles around the bladder.

It can irritate the smooth muscles in the bladder that cause it to involuntarily contract, which can induce urge incontinence. Finally – and probably the most serious of the three – spicy foods can upset both the bowels and bladder. They specifically irritate the lining of the bladder and can contribute to chronic bladder pain if spicy foods are a common occurrence.

While citrus, caffeine and spicy foods all have an impact and are some of the more common bladder irritants, others also include processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol. Condiments can be sneaky and are often overlooked by many as a cause of bladder concerns. Items that especially include soy sauce, vinegars, horseradish, and ketchup all have ingredients to avoid or limit when it comes to bladder health.

However, it’s important to note that not all bladder irritants will cause bladder issues for all individuals. The best way for someone to conclude what bladder irritant may be causing uncomfortable symptoms is by undergoing a food and beverage elimination diet.

What Foods Can Improve Bladder Health

The best thing you can do for optimizing bladder health is prioritizing water intake. When urine becomes concentrated, those waste particles will cause irritation to the bladder lining and increase irritative bladder symptoms.

However, when urine becomes more diluted through water intake, this disperses those waste particles leaving less irritation. Additionally, water helps maximize the functions of the kidneys, gallbladder and bowels, all of which can contribute to irritability in the pelvic area.

While water is a great source to improve your bladder function, there are also other foods that can improve your overall bladder. Specifically, foods high in fiber such as lentils, beans or almonds, can help decrease opportunities for constipation which inevitably leads back to your bladder.

This is because when constipation arises, the fullness of the intestines causes increased pressure directly to the bladder, leading to increased urgency and frequency of the bladder.

Foods rich in vitamin C and calcium are also highly suggested to help support the kidneys and bladder health. Fruits such as berries, apples, bananas, and watermelon, along with vegetables that include kale, spinach, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, green beans, and carrots, can all help the bladder continue to function optimally and decrease the impact of overactive bladder and incontinence.

Of course, it is important to remember that diet is just one part of dealing with incontinence or overall bladder health. If an individual finds that symptoms are persisting long after a change in diet occurs or bladder problems are worsening, they may find that bladder problems are related to another source – such as pelvic floor muscles, lack of exercise or certain workouts.

However, if symptoms become too uncomfortable for an individual to handle on their own, always consult a medical professional on next steps and other treatment options.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you noticed a connection between your diet and any incontinence issues? Which foods have a negative impact on your bladder? What tips can you share with the community?

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The Author

Aleece Fosnight, MSPAS, PA-C, CSC-S, CSE, NCMP, IF is a Medical Advisor to Aeroflow Urology. She is a provider of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, basic urologic care, and gynecological care for Western North Carolina and the Southeast and has opened up her own private practice in June 2020, Fosnight Center for Sexual Health, in Asheville, NC.

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