The ultimate goal of any alteration to diet or drinking habits is to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of overactive bladder and to improve quality of life.
Most medical practitioners will initially commence a treatment programme by starting with the least invasive and surgery free options. One of these is to look carefully at the diet and drinking habits of sufferers.
Many people think that reducing the intake of fluid and therefore reducing the amount of urine they pass will improve their condition. Drinking less does result in a reduction of urine volume, but the urine that is produced is highly concentrated. This can actually cause further problems as the bladder lining may be irritated. It is believed that highly concentrated urine can actually make you wish to go to the toilet more.
Limiting fluid intake can, in some cases make you constipated, which in turn can lead to further problems. However, it is claimed that drinking too much can cause overactive bladder. It is extremely confusing and a frequent question is how much should I drink? Ideal fluid intake for an adult is 1.5 to 2 litres per day.
The time of day when you drink fluids may also be significant. It is best not to drink large quantities at one time e.g. meals, but to spread the intake over the course of the day.
It is suggested that to reduce nocturia, decrease the intake of fluids by drinking the majority before 6pm. Eliminate alcohol and caffeine particularly in the evening.
Some people may suffer from sensory urgency and certain foods can irritate or trigger overactive bladder. Generally, it is known that tomato based foods, highly spiced foods, fruit and fruit juices, fizzy drinks and foods containing caffeine such as dark or milk chocolate, tea and coffee can be irritants. Artificial sweeteners can also adversely affect the bladder.
It is recommended that you increase your intake of dietary fibre as constipation can put pressure on an overactive bladder. It is worth modifying your diet to see if it helps.
BHUK has an overactive bladder handbook available free for members – join us to receive a copy.