10 Foods That Make Urinary Loss Worse

An overactive bladder is no fun. But did you know that some foods trigger that bladder even more? Ten foods you should actually avoid with an overactive bladder. With an overactive bladder, you suddenly feel the urge to urinate and you can’t hold your urine until you reach the toilet. Your bladder muscles contract unexpectedly, forcing urine out of your bladder. It is also known as urge incontinence or urge incontinence. And some foods make the problem worse. We list them and give tips to find out which food is not a problem for you. Keep in mind: you can be sensitive to different products and/or foods and this can also differ from person to person. That is why it is important to recognize your ‘trigger foods’ – the foods that cause a revival of the symptoms in you. Because you may be able to eat some foods normally, if you do so in moderation.

Soda and Bubbles

Carbonated drinks can irritate a sensitive bladder. If you have an overactive bladder, it is therefore wise to drink soft drinks in moderation and preferably not at all. Champagne and sparkling wine also have the same irritating effect on the bladder, not only because of the bubbles but also because of the alcohol.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee, tea (to a lesser extent), energy drinks, cola and chocolate milk: they all contain caffeine and that irritates your bladder. The caffeine creates more waste products in your urine that your bladder would like to discharge. Caffeine also reduces the production of vasopressin. This is a hormone that tells your kidneys to send more water to the body, instead of sending it straight to the bladder. A reduced production therefore ensures that more fluids are drained to the bladder. After all, the acidity of caffeinated drinks is quite high, and your bladder doesn’t really like those acids either. Do you suffer from an overactive bladder? Then limit the intake of these types of drinks and switch to decaf, herbal tea without citrus (see point 4) or coffee that is low in acids, such as dark roast from Colombia.


Anyone who drinks alcohol knows: it makes you pee more often. But not only that: alcohol also disrupts the signal to the brain that indicates when the bladder needs to be emptied. Moderating alcohol is in any case wise, but if you suffer from an overactive bladder it is better not to drink it at all or to reduce its consumption considerably.

Sugar & Sweeteners

Watching your sugar intake is good for everyone, but especially for people with urge incontinence. It is better to avoid added sugars, honey and sweeteners if you have an overactive bladder, as they can make your symptoms worse.


Some people notice that their complaints are made worse by certain types of cheese. This mainly concerns blue cheeses, brie, camembert, cheddar, Edam cheese, Emmenthaler, Gruyère, Roquefort, Stilton, mature cheese, cumin cheese, goat cheese and processed cheeses. This seems like a lot, but luckily not everyone suffers from it. Here too it is a matter of trying out whether and if so what causes problems for you. You can eat mozzarella, cheddar, young cheese, fetta, ricotta, cream cheese and cottage cheese without any problems. Soy cheese and soy milk are also on the red list.

Citrus Fruits

Oranges, grapefruits, clementines, lemons and limes… even citrus fruits contain acids that can irritate the bladder and increase your urge to urinate. By the way, the juice of these fruits has a similar effect. Not everyone suffers from this equally, but you could see what the effect is if you avoid citrus fruit.

Tomatoes (Ketchup)

Tomatoes, but also products in which tomatoes are processed, ensure that your urgency increases, because these also contain the notorious acids. That’s not to say you can’t eat tomatoes at all, but washing down spaghetti with tomato sauce with lots of coffee or orange juice isn’t a good idea. You also prefer to eat ketchup or chili in moderation.


Many spices contain acids or other substances that can irritate the bladder. Think cayenne pepper, cloves, chili powder and curry powder. Mustard, paprika and red pepper are also on the ‘prefer not’ list. It is a matter of trying it out to see what the effect is on your bladder. You can flavor your food with garlic, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, oregano, coriander, dill, fennel, caraway seeds, basil and – to a lesser extent – salt.

Flavor Enchancers

Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar… Be careful not to take too much as they can make urge incontinence worse. Mayonnaise also contains acids that can irritate the bladder, so eat it in moderation.

Raw Onions

Raw onions can make overactive bladder symptoms worse. You will suffer less from fried onions. Or switch to shallots; they are gentler on your bladder.