Uh-Oh, Gotta Go! Can what you drink cause overactive bladder?

Ladies we know that eating healthy not only helps us stay at a healthy weight but it is also crucial for our heart and colon health as well. Believe it or not, what you eat or drink can affect your bladder health too and sometimes not in a good way! Some people may notice that when they drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee or even tea, they pee more frequently or may even feel they need to rush to the bathroom in order to “get there on time”. Other fluids like citrus or tomato juices, alcoholic beverages, soda and other artificially flavored or sweetened drinks, especially Crystal Light can also give you the “urge to go” more often and sometimes in a mad dash. This may be because some bladders can be more sensitive to the acids or caffeine, artificial sweeteners or carbonation in these beverages and can cause bladder irritability. In some cases, even water may seem to increase this urge. Wait, what… Water? How can that be? (more on that later…) 🙂

When it comes to bladder health, it is helpful to know what is a healthy urinary frequency. On average, most folks will say they pee 6-7 x in a 24 hr period. But the frequency can range as few as 4 x to as many as 10 x daily. Typically, our bladders can store urine for anywhere between 2-5 hours. Urinary frequency not only depends on what we drink but also how much and other factors like age, bladder size, and the presence of medical conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy or kidney problems. Granted if we drink more, we pee more! Right?! So, how much fluid is healthy? I get asked this all the time. I typically respond with drink at least 48 + fluid ounces of bladder friendly liquids daily.

However, The National Kidney Foundations recommends;
Eight is great, but not set in stone. There is no hard and fast rule that everyone needs 8 glasses of water a day. This is just a general recommendation based on the fact that we continually lose water from our bodies, and that we need adequate water intake to survive and optimal amounts to thrive. The Institute of Medicine has estimated that men need approximately 13 cups (3 liters) of fluid daily, and that women need approximately 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluid daily.

Water is probably the best choice when it comes to selecting a healthy beverage, but for some, it may be the least appetizing and challenging to get in 9 glasses a day! If your bladder is not used to containing this amount of water throughout a day, that could lead to increased urinary frequency as well. Still, it is important to teach our bladders that it can hold an average of 2 cups of fluid at capacity. That’s a lot of pee!

Some people make the mistake of drinking less just to avoid urinary frequency or leakage, that can be dangerous too. Not consuming enough water can cause dehydration and you may not pee as much and may lead to urinary tract infection. I recommend adding water intake over the course of your day and not all at once. This does involve a little planning but it can be well worth the effort. But remember fluid in does not always equal fluid out because our body uses a lot of water for all its amazing functions, especially when the weather is hotter or when we are exercising.

With a grateful heart,

Melissa Nassaney

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