Although urinary incontinence is often caused by weak or overactive bladder muscles, your lifestyle can play a part in the problem's severity. In particular, the foods you eat may have an adverse effect on the bladder, making you more prone to experiencing incontinence symptoms. Here are three foods you're consuming that could be making your urinary incontinence worse.
Coffee and tea have many health benefits but, unfortunately, they can do a number on your bladder. The culprit is the caffeine these drinks contain. Caffeine is a diuretic that naturally increases urine production and irritates the bladder lining, both of which can aggravate urge incontinence and incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
It's best to completely cut out foods and drinks that contain caffeine, including chocolate and sodas. Even decaffeinated beverages aren't safe, as these products still typically contain a small amount of caffeine. For instance, decaf coffee can still contain up to 13.9 milligrams of caffeine. If you can't cut out caffeinated products completely, at least work to reduce your consumption to a level that doesn't irritate your condition as much.
If you have an overactive bladder, another food you may want to cut back on are citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits. While eating these foods is an excellent way to get your recommended dose of vitamin C, the acid these fruits contain have a similar effect on the bladder as caffeine; it irritates the bladder lining, causing leaks or making you feel like you have to go more frequently.
Since acid is the culprit in this situation, citrus fruits aren't the only things that can cause problems. Tomatoes, sodas, sugar, and processed foods can all contain acid that aggravates your condition. Experiment with eliminating these foods from your diet to see if your incontinence improves.
It's seems weird that something so necessary for life would hurt your health, but water is one of those things that can aggravate incontinence. It's not the substance itself that's the problem, but the amount of water you drink per day. The more water you consume, the more frequently you have to go to the bathroom.
The trick is to find a good balance between staying hydrated and reducing your incontinence symptoms. Your doctor can help you determine the amount of water you should be drinking each day. Alternatively, you can increase the amount of water-laden fruits and vegetables you eat. Foods like watermelon and cucumbers can help you stay hydrated but may not aggravate your incontinence as much as drinking water directly because it takes awhile to extract the water from them.
If your incontinence is so bad that medication and lifestyle changes don't help, talk to a doctor, such as at Western Branch Center for Women, about pelvic reconstructive surgery. Certain types of surgical procedures can alleviate incontinence symptoms and help you lead a more normal life. For more information about these options, contact your doctor.