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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Food and Drink to Tame an Overactive Bladder

OAB Foods to Avoid continued...

Solution:Eat more fruits that are less acidic, such as pears or blueberries. They're also high in disease-fighting antioxidants. If you like lemon in your water, try adding a twist or thin slice. You'll get the hint of the fresh fruit flavor without the acid.

  • Highly spiced foods. Some people say chilies or wasabi wreaks havoc on their bladder.

Solution: Cut back on the spices little by little and see if your symptoms get better.

  • Artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, saccharin, and other artificial sweeteners aren't just in beverages -- they are also added to foods.

Solution: Read the labels of pre-packaged foods and eat those with artificial sweeteners in moderation.

  • Chocolate. Sorry, chocolate lovers -- there's caffeine in this sweet confection.

Solution: Skip the jumbo candy bar. Stick with one chocolate kiss. (It's better for your waistline, too.)

  • Salty foods. Potato chips, salted nuts, and other salty foods can cause the body to retain water, which eventually goes to the bladder. They also make you thirstier, so you're likely to drink more liquids.

Solution: Switch to low- or no-salt snacks.

If you feel that something in your diet is hampering your attempts to manage your urge incontinence, but you don't know what it is, try keeping a bladder diary. This is basically a daily record of what and when you eat and drink, and your urination patterns.

Another option is trying an elimination diet. Remove one item -- tomatoes, for example -- from your meals for a week. If your symptoms get better, make a note of it. Gradually add back small amounts of that food until you notice your symptoms come back. You may be able to enjoy the food in modest amounts while avoiding irritating side effects.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on July 16, 2013

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