When it comes to living with incontinence, there are countless things you can do to help reduce the impact it has on your life. From ensuring you always have incontinence products to hand to behavioural therapies and medication, there’s plenty that can be done.

However, one thing you may have overlooked, which could have a significant impact on incontinence is your diet. While eating a healthy diet is important for several reasons, it can also have a huge impact on the way your bladder behaves.

Why is diet important when it comes to incontinence?

Sometimes, the food that enters our diet can cause stress on the bladder, which, in turn, can make incontinence worse.

If you’ve been taking medication or working hard with behavioural therapies, a diet containing known ‘irritants’ could be working to undo your hard work, or, working to make it harder without your knowledge. While there are things you can do to help your incontinence through your diet, it’s important to know the effect your diet can have on your incontinence.

How your diet can affect incontinence?

For those living with incontinence, certain food and drink can make matters worse, as an irritant, they can lead to:

  • Bladder spasms
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent urges to urinate

While everyone is different, these are the four main symptoms found in those with overactive bladders when irritants are introduced, or remain, in their diets. However, not all irritants will affect everyone, and keeping a food diary could help you narrow down what affects you.

It’s also worth noting that those living with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten could experience issues when eating food containing gluten.

Foods to try and avoid

While you may not have to cut everything out of your diet, being aware of irritants will help you to be more conscious of what you put in your body.

The food you should look to limit or avoid includes:

  • Caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Milk and milk-based products
  • Carbonated drinks like sparkling water
  • Sports drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products
  • Honey
  • Raw onion
  • Foods containing lots of preservatives and artificial flavourings like processed foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Foods high in sugar or sugar substitutes

Meanwhile, those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease should look to do the same with the following:

  • Soups
  • Noodles
  • Cereals
  • Oats
  • Bread-based foods

Foods to include in your diet

As mentioned earlier, despite there being lots of food and drink that can irritate the bladder, making your incontinence worse, there are plenty of foods you should include or increase to help improve bladder health, such as:

Non-acidic fruits;

  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Coconut
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Raspberries

Vitamin-rich vegetables;

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Celery
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber

Foods that are high in fibre, as they can help prevent constipation, which can put additional pressure on your bladder;

  • Almond
  • Oats
  • Bran
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Lentils

Foods that are a good source of protein;

  • Tofu
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs

As you can see, there are plenty of foods you can choose from, and, not everyone will have to cut out all the named irritants on the list. However, by following the above you’ll be able to make an array of delicious meals while improving your overall health as you work on your bladder health.

Alongside this change in diet, as it may take a while to work out what you can and can’t have, it’s important to take supplements to give your body all the nutrition it requires. To get this right, it may help to speak with your GP, who’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

While you can shop for the above foods and experiment with them in your kitchen or talk to your GP about what supplements you may need, if you have questions or need advice about general incontinence products, please get in touch.

You can do this by calling us on 01204 895410 between 9 am and 5 pm Monday – Friday and one of our members of staff will be more than happy to help. Alternatively, you can use the enquiry form here, and someone will get back to you within 24-hours.