It makes sense that what you drink can affect how much you leak – but did you know that what you eat is just as important?
Firstly, your pelvic floor is responsible for managing the mechanisms that make you pee. It’s made up of tissues and muscles that support the bladder, rectum and small intestine. If you’re carrying extra weight, it can put pressure on your pelvic floor and make leaks more likely, so to give yourself the best chance of staying dry it’s important to keep your weight in check by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
But there are a few food groups that are otherwise considered healthy, that can contribute to a leaking bladder. Here are four foods to be mindful of:
What’s the problem?Some research suggests that adding a bit of spice to food can help to reduce inflammation, fight harmful bacteria and improve your metabolism. But on the flip side, spicy foods can irritate the lining of the bladder and make you feel like you’re busting to go.
What to do?Limit the spice you add to meals and, if you need extra flavor, consider opting for fresh herbs instead of spices and hot sauces.
What’s the problem? Citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges, are a great source of vitamin C and contain higher levels of potassium and fiber than you might expect. However, citrus is also highly acidic and the bladder works overtime to dispel this acidity quickly, which means – you guessed it – you might need to pee more frequently and with more urgency than normal.
What to do? Consider eating fruits that are lower in acidity, such as bananas, coconut, apples and strawberries.
What’s the problem? Like citrus fruits, tomatoes are jam packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants – but they also contain high levels of acid. As the bladder works to get rid of this extra acid, urge
can result, making it extremely difficult to hold back.
What to do?As with citrus, try to incorporate fruits and vegetables with lower levels of acidity into your meals. A few extra options include celery, avocado, carrots, cucumber and broccoli.
What’s the problem? Chocolate can be healthy! High-quality dark chocolate made from the seed of the cocoa tree is rich in antioxidants and packed with health benefits – but the downside is that chocolate in any form contains caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it prompts the kidneys to produce more urine than necessary, and this can contribute to a leaky bladder.
What to do? We’re not sure that a perfect substitute for chocolate exists, but try eating frozen grapes, strawberries or frozen yoghurt to satisfy that sweet craving.
When it comes to food, what triggers bladder leakage and what doesn’t will vary between individuals. To identify your own personal triggers we recommend tracking your consumption and bathroom habits in a diary. Click here to download our free bladder diary template.
And in the meantime, make sure you’re covered with our superior