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.

MS continence assessment

MS continence assessment is all about looking into what products, treatments and other strategies will help you take control of your bowel and bladder issues.

This assessment comes under the ‘Activities of daily living’ support cluster. Our specialist continence facilities are based in our Blackburn VIC and Lidcombe NSW offices.

The NDIS is designed to help people with disability participate in activities of daily living – and one category of support is consumables, which assists you to purchase your continence equipment.

It’s important when considering your plan to know your continence needs. If you’ve never had a continence assessment, here are some questions to ask yourself...

  • Has your bladder function changed for the worse?
  • Are you confident to participate in social activities?
  • Do you regularly experience leakage of urine or uncontrollable loss of stool or gas from the bowel?
  • Are you constantly constipated?
  • Do you suffer from urinary tract infections?
  • Are you happy with the equipment you use to maintain continence? Is it easy to use and care for?
  • Does your catheter regularly block?
  • Is your skin free of excoriation?

If you experience any of the above issues, a Continence Nurse Advisor can assess you and advise you of the products that would best suit your needs.

To discuss your situation, contact MS Connect on 1800 042 138 and ask to speak with our MS Continence Advisor.

Create your own personalised symptom report using the Get your ACT together tool. The content is designed for people in the ACT, however it’s filled with information and handy tips and tricks that are useful for all people living with multiple sclerosis, wherever you live. The tool currently focuses on emotions, fatigue and continence, with three new symptoms being launched in 2018.

Useful Resources

Continence Foundation of Australia:


Print Page

MS is here to help

Call Us - 1800 042 138

MS Connect is our free telephone and email information support and referral service.

Register with MS

By registering with MS you can access our full range of services and support.

Stay informed with the latest from MS


Connect with us...

Multiple Sclerosis Limited, ABN 66 004 942 287