Urinary Frequency: What Not to Eat and Drink

Difficulties with urination can be a troublesome side effect of some cancers and treatments. There are many techniques and tricks for coping with bladder control and/or frequency, starting with modifying the food and drinks that you consume, and when you do so. Bladder irritants, or items that cause irritation to the lining of the bladder, can cause you to experience increased bladder spasms, discomfort, or increased urinary symptoms.

The following list contains examples of irritants which, if consumed, may worsen your symptoms, and if avoided may provide improvement in your symptoms.  

  • Alcohol 

  • Acidic fruits or fruit drinks

  • Artificial sweeteners and preservatives 

  • Caffeinated beverages (such as coffee, tea, or doda) 

  • Carbonated drinks 

  • Chocolate 

  • Spicy foods 

  • Tomatoes and tomato-based foods  

  • Vinegar 

Not all food and drink affects everyone the same. One way of testing your sensitivity to these items would be to remove one or more items from the list for a period of one to two weeks, then each following week attempt to add one item back slowly to observe if there is an impact on your urinary symptoms. Keeping a food and symptom diary can help you and your provider identify which items are causing your bladder irritation.

It may be helpful to decrease fluid intake to six to eight glasses of water per day and avoid fluid intake for the two to three hours prior to bedtime to reduce urine production overnight. Check with your doctor to confirm this is safe for you.  

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