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Bladder irritants are foods that can increase feelings of urinary urgency and frequency, or exacerbate bladder pain symptoms. Those with either urge and stress urinary incontinence often find that bladder irritants increase their likelihood of leaking.

bladder irritants

Even if you choose not to eliminate bladder irritants, understanding how they affect your symptoms can help you regain a sense of control. Some choose to permanently or temporarily eliminate bladder irritants in order to reduce pain and/or urinary incontinence in tandem with other treatment approaches. Reducing your intake of bladder irritants may make it easier to accomplish your goals in bladder training, for example. If your bladder is less irritated, you’ll likely feel fewer urges and be able to more easily defer those that you do feel!

See our pages about stress urinary incontinence, urge urinary incontinence, and interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome for more specific information about these concerns!

Most people do not have to eliminate all of these foods to find relief from their symptoms. We suggest selectively eliminating the bladder irritants that you most commonly consume, as those are likely to have the biggest effect. When you add them back in, only reintroduce one per week in order to determine the effect on your symptoms. Using a tool like a bladder diary can be helpful for identifying patterns of what you eat or drink and how you feel!

  • Coffee (even decaf)
  • Tea (even herbal)
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Many fruit and vegetable juices
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus
  • Apples
  • Spicy foods
  • Cranberries
  • Dairy
  • Vinegar
  • Artificial sweeteners


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