Eat This Not That When You Have an Overactive Bladder

Millions of Americans suffer from overactive bladder (OAB), a chronic condition that causes symptoms like urinary incontinence and frequent urges to urinate, interrupting sleep and taking a toll on everyday activities. 

Not surprisingly, people who suffer from OAB can be plagued by anxiety, depression, and embarrassment.

OAB happens when the nerve connections between your bladder and your brain become impaired in some way. As a result, your brain receives frequent signals that your bladder is full, triggering undeniable urges to empty the bladder right away.

While many women and men assume OAB is just a natural part of aging, the fact is, OAB is never natural and it’s highly treatable. 

With a combination of medical therapies and lifestyle changes, you can manage your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life. In fact, many patients benefit from simple changes to their diet that focus on improving bladder health and reducing urgency and leakage.

At the Center for Urogynecology and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery in South Miami, Florida, Rafael J. Perez, MD, FACOG, and our team offer comprehensive treatment plans for overactive bladder, tailored to suit your specific needs and symptoms. 

In this post, learn what foods to avoid and what foods to embrace to reduce your OAB symptoms.

Drink plenty of water

If your bladder leaks, drinking more water might not seem like it makes a lot of sense. But fluids play a major role in bladder and kidney health, so staying hydrated helps your organs remain healthy and functional. 

Most people should aim for 8-10 glasses of water or similar beverages every day. If you have kidney problems, ask us to recommend an ideal daily fluid intake.

Skip caffeine and alcohol

While staying hydrated is important, that doesn’t mean all beverages are created equal. Drinks containing caffeine and alcohol can make your symptoms worse, so avoid or significantly limit these beverages.

Eat flavor-packed fruits and veggies

Packed with natural fluid, melons, cucumbers, and celery are tasty snack options that support bladder health, too. Bananas, grapes, pears, and apples are also good choices. 

Avoid citrus fruits and strawberries, since these contain acids that can irritate your bladder and cause spasms.

Limit spicy foods

Spicy foods can definitely add a kick to lots of dishes, but they can also irritate your bladder and increase sensations of urgency. Skip or limit hot spices in your dishes to keep your OAB under control.

Increase fiber intake

Brown rice, oats, and other whole grains are full of fiber that improves overall digestion. Moving your bowels regularly reduces pressure on your bladder, along with the irritation it can cause.

Stay away from artificial sweeteners

Limiting sugary foods is always a good thing for your health, but if you have OAB, you should skip artificial sweeteners, too. Saccharin, aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners can make bladder symptoms worse, so read those food labels carefully.

Watch your sodium intake

While you need some sodium for good health, data show Americans consume far too much of this micronutrient. Like sugars and artificial sweeteners, sodium is found in lots of foods, so once again, reading labels is important. 

Avoid adding salt to foods at the table, and use salt substitutes instead.

Final tip: Keep a food diary

OAB affects different people in different ways, and that means foods not on this list may trigger your symptoms. Tracking your diet and your OAB symptoms helps to identify foods or ingredients that could be problematic so you can tailor your diet to your specific needs.

If you’ve been diagnosed with OAB or you have OAB symptoms, treatment can help. To find out more, call 305-240-6047 today to request an appointment with Dr. Perez and our team at the Center for Urogynecology and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery.

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