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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Food and Drink to Tame an Overactive Bladder

If you have an overactive bladder (OAB) with urge incontinence, food and drink can make a big difference in your symptoms. There is no OAB diet. But sometimes what you drink or eat can aggravate symptoms. And sometimes how much you eat or drink can make them worse, too.

Try these tips to help you calm your urge incontinence symptoms.

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OAB: What to Drink and When

First, make water your preferred beverage. Added ingredients in sodas and energy drinks, and caffeine in coffee, may aggravate an overactive bladder.

Staying hydrated is important to overall health. But for people with OAB, choosing how much and when to drink to essential. The old saying about drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day? A healthy adult may not need that much. The American Urogynecologic Society suggests drinking water when you're thirsty.

Here are six tips for managing your fluid intake:

  • Spread out fluid intake throughout the day, sipping water between meals.
  • Unless exercising, don't carry a large water bottle with you.
  • Fill your cup or glass half-way or use a smaller cup.
  • Sip, don't gulp.
  • If you're drinking enough water, your urine should be light yellow or almost colorless.
  • Remember that you also get fluids in other foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.

Drastically reducing fluids might seem like a good way to control the urge to go. But drinking too little results in more highly concentrated urine. That can irritate the bladder and may increase the risk for a urinary tract infection. See your doctor if you have pain or burning with urination, or if your urine is cloudy, dark, or smells strong.

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