An overactive bladder—OAB for short—is an unwelcome annoyance that affects many. There are several things that can impact your bladder, for better or worse, and your diet is one of them. According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, “A healthy bladder can hold one and a half to two cups (300-400mls) of urine during the day and about four cups (800mls) at night.” You may have an overactive bladder if you frequently feel the urge to urinate yet find you don’t expel as much liquid as you can hold.
One thing to consider is your water intake. When dealing with an overactive bladder, you teeter a fine line between drinking too much and too little. You should stick to the 6-8 cups a day rule, but be methodical as to when to drink your water; you want to avoid drinking too much at once. Spread water intake throughout the day—drink some in the morning and during meals.
Keep an eye on the color of your urine to ensure that it’s clear. You want to watch out for cloudiness and if your urine holds a distinctive smell. This means your body has built up waste and could be a sign of dehydration. Urine that is highly concentrated can cause irritation to the lining of your bladder and cause you to urinate more frequently as well. If this is the case, you may want to avoid the following drinks:
You should also be wary of citrussy drinks, including cranberry juice. Although this juice is commonly advertised as an effective way to ward off urinary tract infections, the acid can actually cause further irritation. This doesn’t mean you should only drink water, though. You can still drink herbal teas and juices that are low in acidity.
Drinks, of course, are not the only things that affect the health of your bladder. What you eat can either help or harm the bladder too. The first thing to note is the foods you should avoid. You don’t have to cut these foods out cold turkey, but pay attention to what works for you and what doesn’t—even limiting your intake of various items can make a difference. Try to cut down on the following foods:
Once you cut certain items out of your diet, you can focus on integrating foods that help. Fruits and vegetables are a natural system-cleanser and will help to remove any built-up waste. The following food items that may help:
If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of an overactive bladder, make sure to consult a health care professional and see what they recommend. Their advice, in conjunction with our guide, should hopefully help you in the pursuit of improved bladder health. If you experience leaks and urinary incontinence, invest in reusable underwear while you and your doctor determine the proper treatment.