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The Dietary Dilemma: Love your latte, hate your bladder

Posted Apr 30 2010 2:17pm
Can your triple espresso latte be sabotaging your success? Could that little packet of sweetener be that bad? Drinking water makes me pee. So I don't. Could that be a problem?

The answer to all the above is YES.

You could “Kegel” all day long and still have a misbehaving bladder. Your “kegels” haven’t failed you, but perhaps your diet has sabotaged your success. Certain foods and drinks can irritate your bladder. These are called bladder irritants. Some seem to irritate all of the bladders some of the time, while others can irritant some of the bladders all of the time.

You can find extensive lists of potential bladder irritants at http://www.nafc.com/ (National Association for Continence) or http://www.icnetwork.com/ (Interstitial Cystitis Network)


But the short list is as follows:
· Caffeinated beverages
Coffee (limit decaffeinated coffee as well. Decaffeinated does not mean non caffeinated.) Tea, Cocoa and Chocolate, Soft drinks
· Carbonated drinks
· Acidic foods, such as:
Citrus fruits and juices (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit)
Cranberry juice
Tomatoes
· Artificial sweeteners


We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that alcohol and nicotine are also bladder irritants. Alcohol is not only a bladder irritant but acts as a diuretic. This causes your body to actually make more urine which can contribute to both urgent and frequent urination.

What’s a girl to do? Do you have to give up your vente mocha latte, double shot, half caf, no whip, no foam, guilty pleasure?

Let’s negotiate. You got to live BUT you can’t keep consuming the same things and expect your bladder to change.

Recommendations from the Practical PTs

· Drink 48 oz (at least) of water per day. You have to dilute those irritants. Your bladder and your skin will love you. And no, it won’t make you pee more.
· Limit your caffeine. The general recommendation for women is 300 mg of total caffeine per day (To find the caffeine content in common foods and drinks, check out www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm ) But if you have a bladder problem (and why else would you read this if you didn’t) you need to seriously consider decreasing the amount of caffeine to about to about 1 cup of coffee per day. And we know, there is less caffeine in black and green tea but you don’t get a free pass!

· Avoid carbonated drinks (Yes you’ll need to say goodbye to your friends the diet or regular cola drinks, root beers and all other bubbly indulgences). Carbonation is a bladder irritant.

· Acidic foods can irritate your bladder. Pay attention to how your bladder behaves or misbehaves after enjoying these. If they seem to be bothering you, limit your intake.

· Artificial sweeteners can definitely be bladder irritants in most, if not all people. We have had many a ‘miracle’ cure when our patients stop using artificial sweeteners. Remember they are artificial there is nothing natural about them. Doesn’t that make you wonder?

The final tip: Modify your diet. Start with the most obvious thing-probably your caffeine intake is little high while you water is a little low. You may surprise yourself it’s not as hard as you think. Your bladder will thank you.
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