Bladder Incontinence has made its way to being one of the biggest hassles in your life, wreaking havoc among a laugh with friends, your daily jog, or even playing with your kids. It most likely dictates everything that you do, as the thought of bladder leakage is present whenever you leave the house.
However, did you know that the choices you make every day regarding your diet could be a large contributor to your incontinence? Being aware of what you consume and the impact that it has on bladder leakage is enormously important. Knowing this, we have put together some important diet guidelines for bladder incontinence.
Foods to Add When Living With Bladder Incontinence
Magnesium: Magnesium is an important nutrient that assists nerve and muscle function and is known to reduce bladder muscle spasms. Supplements are an option to ensure that you are receiving a daily amount of magnesium, but it can also be incorporated into your diet by eating magnesium high foods such as bananas, avocados, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, beans and lentils, and whole grains. Aside from bladder control, Magnesium can also help with energy levels, sleep quality, and bone and muscle health.
Fiber: Fiber is important for maintaining bowel health. If you have the occasional leak of urine, it might be because of constipation. When your bowels are full, it can put significant pressure on the bladder. Fiber helps to keep things moving and can be found in nuts, seeds, oats, beans, lentils, and vegetables. It is also helpful for controlling blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and can aid in weight loss.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiencies can increase pelvic floor musculature disorders which can contribute to bladder control issues. In a 2016 study at the University of Alabama Birmingham, a clear association between Vitamin D and Urinary Incontinence in older adults was found. So get some sun! Time outside is the best way to get Vitamin D. If this is not possible, Vitamin D in food can do the trick. Eggs, fortified dairy, fish, or supplements could be beneficial in helping you reach sufficient Vitamin D levels.
Foods to Avoid When Living With Bladder Incontinence
Removing foods you love is probably harder than adding in healthy foods, but can make an even larger impact. Foods to avoid for incontinence include:
Alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases the production of urine and will cause an individual to need to use the restroom more frequently. Alcohol consumption also affects the messages from the brain to the bladder that tells it when and when not to hold urine. Therefore, if there is alcohol in your system, there is less control over this signaling. This could increase the chance of an accident for individuals who already have bladder incontinence.
Caffeine: When it comes to caffeine, coffee is not the only culprit. Caffeine comes in many different forms, including soft drinks, teas, chocolate, and coffee. Caffeine triggers your body to make you feel like you have to go as it prompts your body to get rid of liquids. Similar to alcohol, caffeine can increase bladder activity, urination, and inflame pre-existing symptoms of incontinence.
Sugar: High sugar intake can also lead to greater urine production, which can be harmful to women with bladder incontinence as it will exacerbate the existing symptoms. Eating no sugar can be among the most difficult diet changes as we, in the United States, have gotten too accustomed to sugar, but there are available no sugar recipes for you to recreate!
Foods High in Acid: Other foods to avoid include foods high in acid as they can hinder your control to urinate. The acid in foods and juices can also bother your bladder, making you feel like you have to go more often than normal. Common examples of acidic foods are grapefruits, lemons, limes, tomatoes, oranges, and pineapples, but did you know that many other types of foods are acidic that you might not be aware of? For example, coffee is an acidic drink that many people do not consider when cutting out acidic foods. Other foods to avoid are found in this extensive list of foods high in acid.
“Drink Less Water”: It is natural for women to drink less water before going on a run or leaving the house due to their fear of a leaking bladder, and think that drinking too much of any liquid will put them at risk of having an accident. However, your water intake is not the issue! You can treat bladder incontinence without depriving yourself of something we all need to live. Drinking less water will even make your urine more concentrated and could cause irritation to the bladder. Please, stay hydrated and be kind to yourself. You deserve it!
“Drink Cranberry Juice”: Cranberry juice is another drink that has a notion surrounding it about being a “cure-all” for bladder issues. Among cranberry juice benefits, improving urinary tract infections and kidney stones are actually high on the list. But when it comes to bladder incontinence, cranberry juice is something that you should be avoiding as it is an irritating acidic drink.
Listening to Your Body
We know that giving up these parts of your diet is not so easy. Alcohol, a substance that often represents relaxation and socializing, can be difficult to quit even if your pelvic floor musculature health is on the line. Caffeine has been integrated into many of our diets from an early age and helps most of us have the energy to take on the day. Maybe foods high in acid are also things that you have garnered a habit of reaching for, or you cannot imagine a life with no sugar. We get it!
Cutting out these staples would not be a walk in the park for anyone; even considering it requires a mass amount of strength and self-awareness! However, we do recommend giving these foods up for a little while, at least. See what you can handle and how you feel compared to when you were consuming these foods and drinks, and pay attention to any changes in your bladder incontinence! Eating in accordance with your body is all about knowing your limits and seeing what works for you. We cannot wait to support you along the way!
When Should You be Seeking Further Incontinence Treatment?
Following diet guidelines for bladder incontinence can help typically in the early stages, but they may not solve all of your problems. Educate yourself on your urine incontinence treatment options and when not to treat. Fortunately, there are at-home, simple treatment options that are available for you today. This new FDA-cleared in 2019 option allows for a wearable device to tone your pelvic floor muscles to stop the leaks.
If you want to share any content about your diet journey with bladder incontinence on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #EatingForBladderHealth. We would love to see what you have to share!