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Health ... Conditions

Incontinence and Bladder Irritants

by Robin HoweContinence Connection

Believe it or not, many foods, drinks and medications can be irritable to the lining of the bladder. The irritation can lead to causing urinary frequency, urgency, and even bladder spasms, which can result in uncontrollable loss of urine. Every bladder irritant doesn’t affect every person. Different people may find some products irritating while others are not.

The following lists of foods are well-known bladder irritants. By eliminating or significantly decreasing your intake of them from your diet you will most likely notice an improvement in your bladder symptoms.

  • Caffeine (colas, coffee, teas and diet pills)
  • Chocolate
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Cigarettes
  • Spicy or heavily seasoned foods
  • Acidic foods (oranges, lemons, peaches, pineapple, plums, apples, cantaloupe and cranberry*)

*Many people think that cranberry juice is healthy of the bladder. On the contrary, cranberry is helpful to the bladder that is infected. Most people who have irritable bladders will make the irritation worse by drinking

  • cranberry juice.
  • Tomatoes, chilies, peppers, onions
  • Yogurt, aged cheese, sour cream
  • Vinegar, walnuts, peanuts
  • Most artificial sweeteners
  • Vitamin C
  • MSG

How you can help your irritated bladder

Start by eliminating the biggest offenders, which are coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, alcohol and cigarettes. Do this for 2 solid weeks and notice the difference in your bladder irritation. If you don’t see a difference after the 2 weeks, try cutting back on fruits and vegetables and spicy food as listed above. See if this will help you notice a change in frequency or urgency. Following this, gradually re-introduce the foods that you miss the most into your diet. Try to pay attention to how your symptoms change while doing this.

Some people who have a difficult time giving up certain bladder irritants will take a dietary supplement call Prelief®. This supplement neutralized acidic foods and seems to work well for most people. Prelief® can be found easily in most drug stores.

What can I eat?

There are lots of bladder-friendly foods. Firstly, it’s important to stay hydrated. Try to drink six to eight, 8 oz. glasses of water a day. Carry a water bottle with you and drink water over the course of the day instead of being overwhelmed by it all at once. Some people with urinary urgency or frequency falsely believe that decreasing fluids will help them become more continent. On the contrary, reducing your fluids may cause more irritation and worsen your symptoms.


  • Try herbal teas without citrus instead of caffeinated tea (Stash licorice, Celestial Seasonings peppermint, Bigelow Mint Medley are good ones)
  • Eat melons, pears, blueberries, bananas, figs and raisins rather than cantaloupe
  • White chocolate in small amounts
  • Pear juice instead of cranberry

Foods that rarely affected bladder symptoms: blueberries, bananas, cantaloupe, figs, honeydew, raisins, watermelon, asparagus, avocados, green beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, peas, spinach, squash, zucchini, white and sweet potatoes, legumes, eggs, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, rice, breads, milk products, pretzels, popcorn, cookies, pastries, puddings and cakes (non-chocolate). Most of the products in the meat group, the fresh meats – not smoked or deli-meats - such as beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, pork, veal, seafood and fish.

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