When it comes to bladder control, it makes sense that certain beverages can affect how much you leak – but did you know that what you eat is just as important?
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, the rectum and the small intestine. Like any muscle group, it’s paramount that you keep your pelvic floor area strong by doing Kegel exercises and through good nutrition. Carrying extra weight as a result of an unhealthy diet can also put extra pressure on your bladder and make leaks more likely, so enjoying a healthy lifestyle is essential.
In saying this there are a few food groups, which are otherwise considered healthy, that can contribute to a leaking bladder. If you experience leaks, here are four foods to be mindful of:
Some research suggests that adding a bit of spice to food can help to reduce inflammation, fight harmful bacteria and can be great for the metabolism. On the flip side, spicy foods can irritate the lining of the bladder and make you feel like you’re busting to go. You can also drink more fluid when eating spicy foods to try and neutralize the sensation, meaning you may need to visit the bathroom more frequently than usual.
Be mindful of the levels of spice you add to meals and if you need extra flavor, consider opting for fresh herbs as opposed to spices and hot sauces to stay in control of your bladder.
As well as being synonymous with a fresh summers day, citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges are a great source of vitamin C and contain higher levels of potassium and fibre 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.
Consider eating fruits that are lower in acidity, such as bananas, coconut, apples and strawberries.
Similar to citrus fruits, tomatoes are jam packed with vitamins and fibre and are antioxidant rich, but they also contain high levels of acid. As the bladder works to get rid of this extra acid, urge incontinence can result - a condition where when you gotta go, it’s extremely difficult to hold back.
As above, 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.
Chocolate can be healthy! High quality dark chocolate that is made from the seed of the cocoa tree is said to be packed with health benefits as it’s rich in antioxidants and can even improve brain function – but the downside is that chocolate in any form contains high levels of caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic which means that the kidneys produce more urine than necessary, and this can contribute to a leaky bladder.
We’re not sure that there exists the perfect substitute for chocolate, 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 each individual. We recommend discussing options with your health professional and keeping a diary to track your consumption/bathroom habits to see if there are any correlations with your bladder leaks.
Click here to download our bladder training diary
P.S – we can’t find any evidence to suggest that leeks contribute to leaks – so for now at least, feel free to keep them on the menu!