Bladder Friendly Foods

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brandi Jones, DO

As a rule of thumb, paying attention to what you eat and drink everyday is a great way to boost your health. If you have an overactive bladder, you probably already know that what you consume can have a big impact on how much—and how often—you leak. There’s a pretty long list of bladder-irritating don’ts: say goodbye to the delicious yet diuretic wonderfulness of jumbo-sized ice coffees, late night margaritas, spicy meals, and processed, sugary snacks.

But when it comes to diet, addition is usually more fun than subtraction, so here’s a rundown of specific foods and drinks you *can* consume to keep your bladder healthy and happy — and make leaks a little less frequent.

Foods that calm the bladder

There’s no such thing as a diet that will cure urinary incontinence, but making dietary changes will give you insight into your body’s unique triggers, and help you swap them out for safer options. Here are a few safe staples:

  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Onion
  • Blueberries

High-fiber foods

Upping your fiber intake (which helps relieve constipation) can prevent damage to your pelvic floor caused by straining during bowel movements. Without the added pressure, your pelvic muscles are more likely to be able to respond to your body’s movements throughout the day, and keep leaks at bay. Try out high fiber foods like potatoes, almonds, popcorn, chickpeas, and chia seeds.

Fun fact: several studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil can also help calm an overactive bladder, and even help you sleep through the night if you experience nocturia.

Non-acidic fruits and vegetables

It’s always a good idea to eat your fruits and vegetables, but if you experience leaks it’s possible that some fruits are actually part of the problem. Acidic foods are bladder irritants, so next time you’re in the produce section, look for fruits and fruit flavorings with low acid content:

  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Lemon or lime zest (all the flavor without the bladder spasm)
  • Orange or yellow tomatoes (many are lower in acid than red tomatoes)

Smart hydration

For many women who experience urinary incontinence, the first instinct can be to drink less—consuming less liquid means a lower chance of leaking, right? In reality, drinking water throughout the day is super important for staying hydrated, preventing constipation, and curbing the growth of incontinence-triggering bacteria. So, the less water you drink, the more likely you are to leak. If staying hydrated makes you worried about having to pee too often, drink small amounts over the course of the day instead of chugging lots of water all at once. The key is to treat yourself to bathroom breaks throughout the day (but not *too* frequently because that’s how conditions like overactive bladder syndrome can start to take hold in the first place).

Foods to avoid

As much as we want to be all about addition, the truth is that cutting some triggers out of your diet — or even just limiting how often you have them — can be a huge step in alleviating leaks. A few common triggers include:

  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Coffee
  • Spicy foods
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruits
  • Anything with artificial flavorings or preservatives

That said, experiencing bladder leaks doesn’t mean you have to rule out things like coffee or alcohol *entirely*. Acid-free kava coffee or highly roasted beans are a safe swap to make, as are late harvest wines. Ultimately, every dietary “rule” should be applied in moderation (and you can always stay prepared with our Hi-Waist undies.)

Have you tried a modified diet to manage leaks? Which changes worked for you? Share in the comments!

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