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  • Herman and Wallace Institute

How Diet Can Affect Your Bladder

There are many foods, fluids, and habits that can irritate the bladder. This handout has suggestions for ways you might be able to change your habits to better control your bladder and suggestions for maintaining a healthy amount of fluid intake.

photo of a salad and an apple

Although there is no particular "diet" that can cure bladder control, there are certain dietary suggestions you can use to help control the problem.

There are 2 points to consider when evaluating how your habits and diet may affect your bladder;

1. Foods and Fluids that that can irritate the bladder

Some foods and beverages are thought to contribute to bladder leakage and irritability. However their effect on the bladder is not completely understood and you may want to see if eliminating one or all of these items improves your bladder control. If you are unable to give them up completely, it is recommended that you use the following items in moderation:

  • Foods with acidic properties:

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Tomato based products

  • Vinegar

  • Coffee (regular and decaf)

  • Tea (regular and decaf)

  • Curry

  • Spicy foods

  • Caffeinated beverages

  • Carbonated beverages

  • Cola

  • Milk

  • Food colorings and flavorings

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Chocolate

Substitutions for Bladder Irritants

Although water is always the best beverage choice, grape and apple juice are thirst quenchers and are not as irritating to the bladder.

Low acid fruits: pears, apricots, papaya, watermelon

For coffee drinkers:




Kaffree Roma®

For tea drinkers: Non-citrus herbal Sun brewed tea

2. Drinking enough and the right kinds of fluids

Many people with bladder control issues decrease their intake of liquids in hope that they will need to urinate less frequently or have less urinary leakage. You should not restrict fluids to control your bladder. While a decrease in liquid intake does result in a decrease in the volume of urine, the smaller amount of urine may be more highly concentrated. Highly concentrated, dark yellow urine is irritating to the bladder surface and may actually cause you to go to the bathroom more frequently. It also encourages the growth of bacteria, which may lead to infections resulting in incontinence.

© Herman and Wallace | Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute

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