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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.

Recommended Related to Urinary Incontinence/OAB

10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Overactive Bladder or Urge Incontinence

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with overactive bladder (OAB), ask your doctor these questions at your next visit. Are there medications I can take to treat my OAB? What side effects might the medication cause, and what can I do to manage them? How quickly do the medications take effect? What if the medications don't work for me? Are there other treatment options? If my OAB gets better, can I stop taking the medication? Are there foods or beverages I should avoid to k...

Read the 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Overactive Bladder or Urge Incontinence article > >

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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