This is the third in a four part series of how what we drink can affect bladder health including urinary incontinence and OAB
Yesterday, we covered the effects alcohol may have on bladder health. Today, we focus on how a range of other beverages, including acidic drinks and carbonated drinks may impact bladder symptoms.
Coffee and alcohol receive much of the attention when counseling patients on dietary changes to help with overactive bladder (OAB). However, many experts caution those with bothersome bladder symptoms away from foods or beverages with high levels of citric acid. This would include juices containing orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, and tomato. Cranberry juice, often mentioned as possibly helping urinary tract infections, is as acidic as lemon juice. Although actual studies looking at these effects are rare, reports by many patients suggest there may be a link between high citric acid consumption and worsening bladder symptoms in some people. It certainly may be worth cutting out or at least reducing these for a little while to assess the impact on your symptoms.
What about sodas?
It is also not uncommon for those seeking care for bladder symptoms to be told to discontinue carbonated beverages. While there are several studies that link carbonated beverages to bladder symptoms, many of these beverages also contain caffeine and artificial sweeteners or dyes, in addition to all the bubbles. It can be difficult to sort out what may really be having an impact. One study showing higher rates of bladder symptoms in women with high soda intake found that those drinking caffeinated diet soda had the worst symptoms. It may be that either caffeine or added sweeteners are having the most impact on bladder symptoms, rather than carbonation.
An interesting finding is that there is taste receptor used to sense sweet found throughout the bladder. It may be that the bladder is able to “taste” artificial sweeteners secreted into the urine such as aspartame or saccharine and this increase bladder contraction or irritation!!
What should I do?
So, while carbonated beverages could be irritating to some bladders, it may be more likely that the caffeine, citric acid, or artificial sweeteners are to blame. And avoiding high-acid juices, including cranberry juice, may be of benefit and it may be worth reducing these long enough to determine if it has any effect on you.
Tomorrow, we will finish this series by discussing how the amount of fluids that we drink can impact bladder symptoms and what is a healthy amount to drink.