Purpose Statement

This blog is intended to educate women on issues that affect women. Although we are all healthcare professionals, we are not here to give medical advice. Rather we hope this will encourage women knowing that help is available and give them the courage to seek help.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dietary Bladder Irritants

Do you have frequent urination, pain or burning with urination, bladder pain, or incontinence?  Do you want to decrease these symptoms but do not really want to take a medication?  Maybe you don’t need a medication, maybe you just need to change your diet.  I did not say “Go on a diet”, I said “change your diet”.     The food we consume is digested and metabolized and absorbed by the cells in the body.  The cells deposit the waste byproducts into the blood.  The kidneys clean the blood to remove waste to produce urine.  Urine is composed of water, electrolytes and toxins.  The bladder holds this urine until you are ready to excrete the urine through urination. 
The toxins in the urine can be very irritating to the bladder and can cause urinary urgency, frequency, bladder pain, pain with urination, and incontinence.  Being that many of the toxins are byproducts of metabolized foods, you can often decrease the urinary symptoms just by making some dietary changes. 
Foods that often irritate the bladder are ones that are acidic or high in acid.  Other foods that stimulate the nerves, such as caffeine, are bladder irritants.  Foods that are high in histamines or can cause your body to produce histamines, can trigger an immune response such as an allergic reaction.  An example of this type of food is chocolate, eggplant, or champagne.  Foods high in potassium or sodium can also irritate the bladder.

Here are some of the most common bladder irritants.
Coffee and tea, both caffeinated and decaffeinated.   Both are very acidic.  You can look for a low acid coffee sold on-line or at a health food store.  If you love tea, look for a peppermint tea or a chamomile tea.
Citrus products – including fruits and juices.  The worst offenders are lemons and oranges.  The best fruits are pears, blueberries, and sweet (not sour) apples, such as a Gala apple.  You can try pear or blueberry juice as well.  Pear juice can often be found in the baby food section and has the least amount of acidity and preservatives. 

Cranberry juice should be avoided.  Cranberry juice increases the acidity of the urine and can help to prevent a bacterial urinary tract infection.  However the increased acidity can irritate the bladder and worsen the bladder symptoms outside of an infection.
Processed meats such as bologna, hot dogs, canned meat, and salami.  Try to avoid foods with nitrites as this can worsen urinary symptoms.
Other foods included sodas, spicy foods, tomato based products, chocolate, and alcohol. 

As you are reading this, you are probably thinking I did not leave anything on the list that you can eat.  Please remember these are common irritants but not necessarily definitive irritants.  You need to determine which foods trigger your urinary symptoms.  The best way to determine this is to keep a food and symptom journal.  Simply write down what you eat and drink for each meal and document your urinary symptoms.  When the symptoms increase or worsen, look to see what you had to eat during the 24 hour period prior.  Some foods such as coffee or alcohol may increase urinary symptoms immediately and others may take several hours to affect the bladder.  After several episodes of increased symptoms you will be able to start narrowing down your food triggers.
Please remember to talk with your provider if you are experiencing any urinary symptoms as these are common but not normal.  You need to be evaluated to make sure there are not other more concerning issues occurring. 

Below is a chart that list common dietary irritants.  It also lists foods that do not usually cause bladder symptoms.  The first column are foods that typically do not bother the bladder, the 2nd column may or may not bother the bladder, and the 3rd column usually causes irritation.


USUALLY OK
MAY BE OK
USUALLY PROBLEMATIC
Beverages
alfalfa tea
bottled water
herbal coffees
lowacid decaf coffee

low acid baby juices
gin
rice milk
root beer w/ ice
rum
tap water
vodka
beer
carbonatedH20
chocolate milk
citrus juices
cranberry juice
herb tea blends
green teas
most fruit juices
regular coffee
sodas
soy milk
tea
wines
Grain
Products
buckwheat
corn bread
couscous
matzo
millet
oat bread
oatmeal
pasta
pitas
potato bread
quinoa
rice
spelt
white bread
amaranth
grits
rye bread
sourdoughbread
some graham
crackers w/o problem
ingredients
whole wheat bread
bread or cereal w/
preservatives
soy flour
Fats
and Nuts
butter
canola oil
coconut w/o preservatives
coconut oil
corn oil
margarine
olive oil
peanut oil
safflower oil
sesame oil
shortening
soy oil
almonds
almond butter
cashews
tahini
sunflower
seeds
filberts
hazelnuts
macadamia nuts
mayonnaise
most salad
dressings
peanuts
pecans
pistachio nuts
English and
black walnuts
Soups
homemade soups
from ok meats
and vegetables
bouillion cubes
bouillion powder
most packaged
and canned soups
Meat, Fish
and Poultry
beef
chicken
eggs
fish
lamb
liver (beef or chicken)
pork
shellfish
shrimp
turkey
veal
anchovies
bacon
Canadian bacon
caviar
corned beef
liverwurst
prosciutto
some sausages
w/o problem
ingredients
bologna
ham
hot dogs
most sausage
pepperoni
salami
smoked fish
Cheeses and
Other Dairy
cream cheese
cottage cheese
feta
mozzarella
ricotta
string cheeses
whipped cream
vanilla ice cream
buttermilk
canned Parmesan
Cool Whip®
Monterey jack
some sherbets
some frozen yogurt
Rice Dream®
aged cheeses
blue cheese
brie
brick parmesan
camembert
cheddar
edam
emmenthaler
gruyer
hard jack
roquefort
sorbet
soy milk
soy cheese
sour cream
stilton
swiss
yogurt
Vegetables
and Dried
Beans
broccoli
brussels sprouts
cabbage
carrots
cauliflower
chives
collard greens
corn
cucumber
kale
lentils
lettuce
mustard greens
mushrooms
most dried beans
okra
parsley
peas
potatoes
pumpkin
radishes
snow peas
split peas
summer squash
turnips
winter squash
yams
zucchini
avocado
beets
chicory
cooked bulb
onions
cooked leeks
dandelion greens
eggplant
low acid tomatoes
purslane
raw green onions
rhubarb
rutabagas
swiss chard
spinach
turnip greens
watercress
chili peppers
fava beans
lima beans
pickles
raw bullb onions
sauerkraut
soy beans
(edamame)
tomato
tomato sauces
tomato juice
tofu
Fruits
dates w/o
preservatives
coconut w/o
preservatives
pears
- pear pear bars
- pear bluberry bars
bananas
blueberries
brown raisins
cherimoya
citrus peels
crenshaw melon
dried currants
Gala apples
honeydew
mango (small amt)
maraschino
cherries
rhubarb
watermelon
- cinnamon pear jelly
- cinnamon pear maple syrup

- blueberry preserves
apricots
all citrus fruit
cantaloupe
cherries
dried fruit w/
preservatives
peaches
most plums
most dried figs
golden raisins
grapes
guava
kiwi fruit
most berries
passion fruit
papaya
persimmon
pineapple
starfruit
Desserts
and
Sweets
brown sugar
carob
carrot muffins or cake
creme brulee
custards
divinity
homemade pound cake
homemade white/yellow cakes
homemade vanilla frosting
homemade caramel frosting
honey
licorice
maple syrup
pear pastries
sugar
sugar cookies
tapioca
vanilla ice cream
vanilla pudding
Dr. Oetkers Vanilla Cake Mix
Dr. Oetkers Vanilla Frosting Mix
Dr. Oetkers Corn Muffins
Dr. Oetkers Carrot Muffins
Dr. Oetkers Apple Muffins
Dr. Oetkers Bisquit Mix
Dr. Oetkers Vanilla Pudding
banana bread
blueberry pastries
caramel candies
peppermint ice cream
plain pastries w/ almonds
plain cheescakes
some frozen
yogurt
some hard
candies w/o acids
some popsicles
Splenda® (sucralose)
stevia
white chocolate
acesulfame K
aspartame
catsup
chocolate
coffee ice cream
desserts w/ problem nuts
mustard
pastries w/ problem fruits
pecan pie
sorbets
store-bought
fruitcakes
mincemeat pie
Nutrasweet®
saccharine
Seasonings
and
Additives
allspice
almond extract
anise
basil
caraway seed
coriander
dill
fennel
garlic
mace
marjoram
oregano
poppy seed
rosemary
sage
salt
thyme
tarragon
vanilla extract
black pepper
celery seed
cilantro
cinnamon
cumin (small amt)
dried parsley
dried chervil
ginger
lemon extract
malt powder
nutmeg
onion powder
orange extract
turmeric
ascorbic acid
autolyzed yeast
BHA and BHT
benzoates
caffeine
cayenne
cloves
chili powder
citric acid
hot curry powder
hydrolyzed
protein
meat tenderizers
miso
oleoresin paprika
paprika
red pepper
soy sauce
tamari
vinegar
worcestershire sauce
MSG (monosodium
glutamate)
metabisulfites
sulfites