By Morgan Mowers, PT, DPT, FAFS
Are you experiencing urinary frequency, urgency, or incontinence? What you eat and drink can have a huge impact — certain foods and beverages, called bladder irritants are associated with worsening symptoms of incontinence.
Some common criminals:
Seltzer Water: While seltzer may be a great way to hydrate for those who are not fans of plain water, its acidity is irritating to the bladder — when water and carbon dioxide combine, they create carbonic acid. This increases the acidity of urine and is bothersome to the bladder lining.
Coffee, tea: Caffeine is a diuretic, which increases the urea and ammonia level of urine, further irritating the lining of the bladder wall. It can also result in involuntary bladder contraction, resulting in the urge to urinate even when your bladder is not full.
Soda, especially diet soda: Soda has both the acidity from carbonation and the diuretic qualities from caffeine, along with the inflammatory properties from its sugar content. And diet soda contains artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which cause the smooth muscle of the inner bladder to prematurely contract.
Citrus: The citric acid content in these fruits and juices is bothersome to the bladder.
Alcohol: Along with being a diuretic, alcohol decreases vasopressin, a hormone which stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb water after filtration. Without this reabsorption, the volume of urine in the bladder is increased, resulting in more frequent urination.
The best way to figure out which beverages are most irritating for you is to eliminate all beverages besides water, then add them back in one by one.