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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

Diet, Drugs, and Urinary Incontinence Symptoms

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What you eat and drink, as well as the drugs you take, may all have an effect on incontinence symptoms. Use these two charts to learn more about the potential effects of food, drink, and medication on incontinence.

Diet and Urinary Incontinence Symptoms

Food or Drink

Effect on Incontinence

What to Do

Too much water or other fluid

Overfills the bladder.

Drink no more than 2 liters (about 2 quarts) of fluid a day.

Drink most fluids during the daytime and limit fluids in the evening.

Too little fluid

Irritates the bladder.

Promotes infection.

Drink at least 1 liter (about 1 quart) of fluid every day.

Alcoholic beverages

Causes dehydration by increasing the amount of urine.

Interferes with brain’s signals to the bladder about when to release urine.

Cut down on or eliminate alcohol.

Caffeine-containing drinks and foods (such as coffee, tea, colas, or chocolate)

Stimulates the bladder.

Act as diuretics, producing more urine.

Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet.

Acidic foods and drinks (such as citrus fruits, coffee, tea, and tomatoes)

Irritates the bladder.

Cut down or avoid these items.

Carbonated drinks

Irritates sensitive bladders.

Use sparingly or not at all.

Spicy foods

Irritates the bladder.

Avoid these foods.

Sugar, honey, and artificial sweeteners

Irritate the bladder.

Limit your use of these foods, if possible.

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