Being a pelvic floor physical therapist means I get to help women and men with issues such as urinary urgency, frequency, incontinence, and bladder pain that can occur due to an issue with the pelvic floor muscles. In order to completely resolve these issues, we sometimes need to look beyond our musculoskeletal system for the resolution of these symptoms. Our diet can have a big impact on our bladder health. Certain foods and drinks can actually cause irritation to the bladder lining and when this happens our bladder wants to get rid of them…like now!
This can lead to issues like urinary frequency where you find yourself going to the bathroom every hour and voiding small amounts of urine or urinary urgency where you get a strong, sudden urge and have to run to the bathroom. Both of these issues can lead to urinary incontinence if you don’t have good pelvic floor coordination and strength to allow you to make it to the bathroom in time.
Also, bladder pain conditions such as interstitial cystitis can be worsened by certain food and drinks that are considered to be bladder irritants.
So…just what should and shouldn’t you be eating and drinking to make sure your bladder is happy and healthy?
I’m glad you asked!
Below is a list of some of the most common bladder irritants. Just because something is on this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it is causing irritation in your bladder, but it may be cause for a little more investigation.
A food/drink and symptom journal can be helpful to find a correlation between what you are eating and drinking and if it is contributing to your symptoms. The next step would be to eliminate the most common bladder irritants that you are eating and drinking from your diet for a couple of weeks to see if your symptoms improve. Then gradually add them back in one by one to see if your symptoms return. If you suspect that your bladder symptoms are related to something in your diet give this a try!
If you are still struggling with any urinary symptoms a pelvic floor physical therapist can help identify all of the pieces of the puzzle to give you complete relief from your symptoms!