Does What You Eat Really Matter for Bladder Health?

Avoid foods that produce more gas.
Incontinence is an involuntary condition, and while it is often treatable and not something you just have to “live with” it will impact your life. Some things are outside your control, while others are not. One area you may want to consider making a few changes is your diet.

The way we eat impacts almost everything we do, from our energy levels to our fat stores. And what you eat and when you eat it can help to improve incontinence or worsen the symptoms.
For example, certain foods and eating habits can stimulate reactions in those that suffer from light bladder leakage. Avoid:
  • Meals that are too large
  • Meals high in fat
  • Fried foods
  • Coffee or caffeinated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Certain sugars, or too much sugar (Sorbitol, a common food sweetener) can lead to cramping or diarrhea.
What you eat does impact how your body functions. What about those who have fecal incontinence? Or suffer from bowel control? While not all foods are going to make the symptoms worse, certain foods are more gas producing for instance. Such as:
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Legumes
  • Cauliflower
  • Raisins
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Bagels
  • Brussels sprouts
Eating too much of these foods can lead to increased gas and bowel discomfort. Adding this to an already distressed bowel may lead to further embarrassment. And if you eat foods like fish, garlic, nuts, onions, radishes, cabbage, etc. the gas may also be particularly odorous.

Does this mean you should avoid all of these foods? Not at all. In fact, while these foods have been shown to impact those with incontinence (urinary or bowel), there is no general dietary advice, as each individual is impacted differently. Instead, talk to your physician about your symptoms, keep a food diary and voiding diary, and compare notes. What symptoms are you suffering, and are they associated with particular dietary changes or factors?

Malnutrition can make symptoms worse, therefore, it is important to speak with a health care professional to come up with dietary guidelines that will help keep your symptoms at bay while providing you with a balanced diet and healthy eating habits.

Hydration is also important. Many individuals try to avoid “leaking” by avoiding fluids, but what they end up doing is causing further complications and problems. The bladder can become irritated with too high of concentrated urine. The bowels can be compacted with hard stool. Rather than avoiding fluids, regulate their use so that you get enough, but at the most opportune times so accidents do not happen.

For some, simple tweaks to the diet can improve symptoms drastically. For others more is needed. Talk to your physician or dietitian today. 

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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