Bladder issues & nutrition

Continence is a personal topic that affects many more of us than we first think. Review and management of your diet and fluid intake can be a useful part of managing your bladder issues.

It can be tempting to limit the amount of fluid you drink when you are experiencing bladder problems.  However, adequate fluid intake is essential to prevent dehydration, maintain energy levels, reduce the risk of urinary infections, headaches and constipation. 

To better manage your bladder issues it's important you drink enough of the right fluids and review certain foods and their effect on you.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Maintain your fluid intake and still try to get 1.5-2 litres (6-8 glasses of fluid) each day.
  • Spread your drinks evenly through the day.
  • Limit or avoid drinks that contain caffeine such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cola and some soft drinks / energy drinks.  Caffeine can irritate the bladder and it is a diuretic. This means it will increase how often you need to empty your bladder and will generally increase the amount of urine you produce which can contribute to a dehydrating effect. 
Cutting down your daily coffee intake from three to one may help you see a significant reduction in the frequency of how often you are visiting the bathroom.  Similarly if you drink tea consider reducing the number of cups you have per day. Tea has tannins present which can also affect your frequency to the bathroom.
  • Limit or avoid alcoholic drinks as these are dehydrating (alcohol is a diuretic) and stimulate the bladder contributing to urgency.  Especially white wine.
  • Avoid acidic fruit and juices such as tomatoes, lemons, lime, grapefruit and oranges.  These seem to make bladder irritation worse.
  • Limit spicy foods such as curry, chilli pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Keep a bladder and food and drink diary to discover what your specific triggers are.
  • Don't reduce your fluid intake if you have a bladder control problem, as this will concentrate your urine and make the problem worse.
  • Don't suffer in silence.  Make an appointment and see your G.P., Continence nurse, Neurologist or treatment team as there is a lot they can do to help.

Enjoy plenty of...

Limit or avoid...

  • Herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, liquorice, rose hip.
  • High water content food  such as water melon, lettuce, cucumber, leafy greens, broccoli and juicy fruits.
  • Drinks which contain caffeine: such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cola and some soft drinks/ energy drinks.
  • Highly coloured drinks.
  • Fruit juices such as tomato, lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange juice.
  • Spicy foods such as curry, chilli pepper and cayenne pepper.

Useful Resources

Continence Foundation of Australia:

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