Food and Drink to Tame an Overactive Bladder
OAB: Drinks That May Increase the Urge to Go
One of the biggest OAB culprits is caffeine, which can make you urinate more. Studies show that reducing caffeine intake to below 100 milligrams per day -- the amount in one cup of drip coffee -- may help reduce urge incontinence symptoms.
Cut down or cut out these problem beverages:
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, colas, energy drinks, and teas
- Acidic fruit juices, especially orange, grapefruit, and tomato
- Alcoholic drinks
- Carbonated beverages, sodas, or seltzers
- Drinks with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, which may irritate the bladder
If you can't imagine starting your day without a morning cup of coffee, try to lower the amount of caffeine you take in. Make a cup that's half decaf and half regular. You may want to wean yourself gradually to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches.
For fruit juice, try switching to something with less acid, such as apple or pear juice, and dilute it with water.
OAB Foods to Avoid
Some people find that certain foods or beverages seem to make their OAB symptoms worse.
If you feel that any of these potential problem foods make your urge incontinence symptoms worse, see if eliminating or cutting them back helps:
Acidic foods. Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit), tomatoes, and tomato products (like tomato sauce or salsa) are among the chief reported offenders.
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.
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.
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.