Some foods may aggravate overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms, but specific dietary changes, such as eating more fiber, may help reduce them.
You may experience worsening OAB symptoms from some foods and drinks due to bladder irritation. Certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications for bladder control can also have side effects that can impact your food and fluid intake.
Keep reading to learn more about how your diet affects OAB, what foods you can eat to find relief, and what foods you should try to avoid.
If you have OAB, certain foods and drinks can further irritate your bladder or urinary tract.
This can cause an uptick in the following symptoms:
In general, drinking enough water supports your overall health. But if you have OAB, more fluid intake typically means more trips to the bathroom. If those fluids are carbonated, they may aggravate your symptoms even more.
A doctor can help you determine how much fluid to drink daily and at what times. Many people with OAB avoid drinking before bed to reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Keep in mind that too little fluid intake also isn’t ideal. If you drink too little, your urine may become concentrated and acidic, heightening bowel irritation.
Foods that negatively affect one person with OAB may not affect everyone with OAB. You may need to experiment with different foods and beverages to pinpoint your dietary triggers. Keeping a food diary can also help track diet and symptoms.
Gluten ataxia and OAB
- foods containing white, rye, wheat, or whole-wheat bread
- cereals and packaged oatmeal that don’t specify they are certified gluten-free
- noodles made from wheat flour
- some types of alcohol
Certain foods and beverages contain irritants that can amplify your OAB symptoms, leading you to make more frequent bathroom trips.
You may find it beneficial to limit or avoid:
- carbonated beverages, such as sparkling water
- caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and tea
- alcoholic drinks
- sports drinks, such as Gatorade
- citrus fruit
- tomatoes and tomato-based products, including ketchup, tomato sauce, and chili
- spicy foods
- foods containing artificial flavorings and preservatives
- foods containing sugar or artificial sweeteners
- raw onion
Eliminating irritating foods doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You may find that you can tolerate certain foods in small quantities or when eaten occasionally.
If you do decide to eliminate a certain food, you may be able to reintroduce it into your diet later.
A doctor may recommend bladder relaxant medications to help control your bladder muscles.
Common OAB medication options include:
- fesoterodine (Toviaz)
- tolterodine (Detrol)
- oxybutynin (Ditropan)
- darifenacin (Enablex)
- solifenacin (VESIcare)
Although these medications can help alleviate symptoms, they may cause side effects. Potential side effects
A dry mouth can lead you to drink more fluid than is recommended. This can cause an uptick in your overall OAB symptoms. If you have a dry mouth, try to sip small amounts of water throughout the day. There are also OTC products that can help reduce feelings of dry mouth, including:
- sugar-free candy or gum, which can stimulate the flow of saliva
- saliva substitutes, such as Mouth Kote Dry Mouth Spray or Biotene Moisturizing Mouth Spray
- mouthwashes containing xylitol, such as ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Rinse
You may be able to reduce constipation by eating fiber-rich foods, which can help add bulk to your bowel movements.
If you’re worried about medication’s side effects, a doctor can work with you to find a more suitable medication. Do not stop taking any prescribed medication, including those for OAB, without your doctor’s approval.
If you have OAB, it’s important to avoid foods that can irritate your bladder. While doing this isn’t necessarily a cure, it can help give you some relief.
For example, in a
Another study of postmenopausal women with urinary incontinence found participants reported fewer symptoms when following a low fat diet.
Whether or not you follow a specific diet, choose foods rich in vitamins, such as non-acidic fruits and vegetables.
Fruits that may support bladder health include:
Vegetables that may support bladder health include:
Foods high in fiber can help prevent constipation, which can put additional pressure on your bladder. Fiber-rich foods include:
Protein is also essential for your overall health. Good sources of protein include:
You can also experiment with different seasonings to put a new twist on go-to dishes. This can help keep your staple items interesting while still helping you avoid potential irritants.
Keep reading: Foods to avoid if you have OAB.
Developing a diet free of irritants can take trial and error. During this time, it’s important to get the recommended amount of daily nutrients.
Be sure to talk with a doctor about your individual nutritional needs. They can help determine appropriate supplements for you.
It’s best to talk with a doctor before adding a supplement or nutrition drink to your diet. Certain ingredients may interfere with your medications or negatively impact your overall health.
In addition, if you have OAB, you can do some other things to help alleviate your symptoms, including:
- Bladder training: Bladder training involves timing your trips to the bathroom to help your bladder adjust to holding your urine for longer.
- Pelvic floor exercises: Kegels can help give you better control over the stop and start of urination.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: Some medicines can help relax your bladder muscles, giving you more control between bathroom breaks.
Although there isn’t a cure for OAB, most people can reduce or alleviate their symptoms through lifestyle changes, medication, or both.
Identifying your food triggers may help improve your symptoms and quality of life. You may also find it beneficial to monitor your fluid intake and restrict drinking liquids to certain times. Some foods to eat can include:
- fiber-rich foods
- whole fruits
- whole vegetables
- lean protein
Keep reading: Tips for easing stress and anxiety from overactive bladder.