Best Foods For Bladder Health

Best Foods For Bladder Health

Do you run to the bathroom after every meal?  Do you ever notice that you always seem to have an accident after eating a specific type of food? It’s no coincidence.  What you eat and drink has a huge effect on your bathroom habits, and if you’re suffering from bladder leakage (or bowel leakage, for that matter), it’s worth your time to start paying more attention to your diet. 

There are many known bladder irritants that may be causing you trouble. 

Below is a list of some of the most common foods that have been known to irritate the bladder:

  • Alcohol

  • Apples

  • Carbonated beverages

  • Chocolate

  • Citrus Juice & Fruits

  • Coffee

  • Corn Syrup

  • Cranberries

  • Spicy Foods

  • Honey

  • Milk

  • Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners

  • Tea

  • Tomatoes

  • Vinegar 

The sugar, caffeine, or acidity in these foods and drinks can irritate the bladder, causing an accidental leakage to occur. If you think one of these foods may be contributing to your bladder leaks, try eliminating it from your diet for a couple of weeks and see what happens. After a while, slowly add it back in and see if the problem reemerges. If so, you know it’s a food or drink you should avoid. 

Everyone is different of course, and not all of the foods listed above will be triggers for everyone. That cup of coffee that causes you to sprint to the ladies room each morning may not have any effect on someone else struggling with bladder leakage. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of what you eat and drink. A bladder diary can be ideal for this task by letting you track what you consume, and also when you have accidents.  Over time, you may start to see a correlation between that tomato sauce you love and your trips to the bathroom.  A bladder diary also comes in handy when talking with your doctor about your condition. It gives them a roadmap of what you’re experiencing and helps them in diagnosing your problem and finding a solution.

Ready to start tracking? Download your free bladder or bowel diary here.

 

ASK THE EXPERT: Is A Bladder Diary Really Necessary?

Is A Bladder Diary Really Necessary?

Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question: What’s a bladder diary, and is it really necessary that I keep one?

Answer: A bladder diary is a great tool for those looking to treat their incontinence, and should be used as a first step in understanding your specific condition. A bladder diary will track the number of times you have gone to the bathroom in a day, if you’ve had any leakage (and the amount), and also tracks your food and drink consumption. By recording all of this over a series of days (at least 2-3 but up to a week or two can be really helpful), you may be able to see trends over time. For instance, perhaps you always experience leakage at a certain time of day, or after you’ve had a certain food or drink. These realizations can help you adjust your routine (or your diet) to avoid leaks. And, the tool can be extremely helpful to your physician, as it gives him/her a better picture of your situation and may help advise better treatment options that will work for you.

In short – yes! Everyone who experiences incontinence should try keeping a bladder or bowel diary for at least a couple of days. What you see may surprise you, or, at the very least, provide a roadmap of your condition that you can share with your doctor.

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Contact us!

The Top 3 Reasons To Use A Bowel Diary When You Have Fecal Incontinence

Top 3 Reasons To Use A Bowel Diary When You Have Fecal Incontinence

It sounds weird, doesn’t it?  Keeping a journal for your bowel or bladder?  Maybe, but a Bowel Diary is actually a very useful tool to use if you suffer from Fecal Incontinence or Accidental Bowel Leakage.  

Here Are 3 Reasons To Use A Bowel Diary For Fecal Incontinence

  1. A Bowel Diary Gives You A Good Snapshot Of What’s Happening With Your Body. Knowing how often you leak, when, and how much can give help you create voiding habits that work with your body, and better assess the types of products that you need to address your leakage.  Always have a problem at 10 in the morning?  Perhaps you need to plan to always use the restroom at that time.  Only experience mild leakage? A light absorbent pad may work just fine for your needs.  Keeping a diary will help you make these decisions.

  2. It Helps You To Identify Triggers That May Be Causing You To Have Fecal Incontinence. By keeping a record of your ABL, you can start to uncover trends that may be contributing to the issue.  For instance, that cup of coffee first thing in the morning may be irritating your bowels more than you thought before, hinting that it’s time to rethink your java habit.
  3. It Provides You With A Roadmap For A Discussion With Your Doctor. Recording your leaks and daily habits gives you a great reference for when you eventually have a discussion about ABL with your doctor. This can be an embarrassing conversation for many, so having a document that outlines everything you’ve been experiencing can really help the discussion along, and provide your doctor with information that can help him or her prepare a better treatment plan for you.

Download the NAFC Bowel Diary here!

Tools to keep around if you care for someone with incontinence

Tools To Keep Around If You Care For Someone With Incontinence

If you are a new caregiver to a patient with incontinence or your family member just recently developed bladder and bowel problems, you’ll want to consider keeping supplies at the ready to help you address this condition.

In many cases, your family member or patient won’t be entirely comfortable with their situation and may attempt to thwart help or assistance. If that engagement leads to leaks or uncomfortable situations, it’s your job to be prepared and help them clean up in a dignified way.

We recommend having the following supplies ready or knowing where to get them easily:

  • Rug pads: Individuals with nocturia or overactive bladder are very susceptible to falling from incontinence in an effort to get to the restroom quickly. Make sure the rugs in the house and bathroom are padded underneath to avoid slippage.
  • Absorbent products: Many times, leakage or bladder spasms occur when the individual is in transfer, or is moving from place to place. Be at the ready to respond to these needs with an appropriate product.
  • Water: Dehydration can be a catalyst for frequent urination and in some cases, urinary tract infections. Avoid your patient or family member experiencing either by encouraging and modeling enough water intake. Click here for guides on how to drink more water.
  • Protective Bedding: Waterproof mattress covers, bed pads, and extra sheets can all make a huge difference when cleaning up a wet bed.
  • Bladder or Bowel Diary: Managing physical and dietary responses to bladder and bowel concerns is a proven way to help manage incontinence. Help your loved one or patient track their urination, bowel movements, and intake of food and water by keeping the diaries available and ready for updates. Download the diaries here.

We hope these tips can help you be the best assistant in their journey. Are there any tools you’ve already found helpful to have?

Download The NAFC Bladder and Bowel Diaries!

Download The NAFC Bladder And Bowel Diaries

Download The NAFC Bladder And Bowel Diaries

Keeping track of your bathroom habits isn’t easy but having the right tools readily available can really make a difference.

It may seem a little strange at first, but keeping a bladder or bowel diary it is a great way for you to see trends over time and learn what types of foods and drinks trigger your incontinence.  Not only will you gain insight into your condition, but it will also aid your doctor in knowing what type of incontinence you suffer from and help him or her develop a more customized treatment plan for you.  

Best Practices For Preparedness (laying out clothes, prepping coffee/lunch, pick-up)

Best Practices For Preparedness

We believe that preparedness is the key to building a solid treatment plan for your incontinence. It’s also a great way to build stability in your life in general.

Read our top ten ways you can be better prepared to handle accidents, maintain your treatment plan, and stay accountable to your health goals.

1. Lay out your outfit for the next day.

Include shoes, accessories, briefcase or purse, and an extra set of absorbency products for your car or bag. Use the downtime at night to avoid the risk of forgetting something in the morning.

2. Set out your breakfast and lunch so you can grab and go.

There’s nothing worse that forgetting your breakfast or lunch and drinking coffee to sustain you. Not only will your stomach be growling, but you’ll likely irritate your bladder without the proper balance of food and hydration.

3. Schedule your pelvic floor workout with your regular workout.

By penciling in time to exercise, you’re keeping yourself accountable to the goals you set for your body. Your pelvic floor should be no different.

4. Put a reminder in your calendar to review your bladder diary.

Pick a time of the week or day where you’ll have no distractions and can focus on reviewing your notes. Maybe you stop at the library before you go home from work, or you leave early to get your morning coffee on the way to work and review it then.

5. Check in with a friend or mentor once a month at the same time and place every month.

Finding a person to glean guidance and support from can be key to living your life as fully as possible. Maybe this person is a friend who has dealt with incontinence before, or it is a mentor who helps you manage your life holistically? Make time with that accountability partner count by adhering to the schedule you agreed on.

6. Review your day the night before.

There are a lot of things that can be challenging with incontinence. Finding the restroom in a location is at the top of our list. Review your day the night before to avoid running in circles when you really need to go.

7. Refill your prescriptions on time.

For some, medicine is a crucial part to their incontinence treatment plan. Don’t ruin the progress you’ve made in your treatment by forgetting to renew your prescription. When the pharmacy calls or emails you to renew—do it right away to avoid a lapse in your intake.

8. Take time to breathe.

One of the best ways you can prepare yourself for the unexpected is stress management. And one of the best, cheapest, and most accessible ways to manage your stress is breathing. According to an article by NPR, deep breathing is not only relaxing, it's been scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system — and maybe even the expression of genes. Take time to breathe and focus on slowing your body down so you can be prepared and strong enough to face the chaos when it comes.

9. Have a ‘worst-case’ solution.

When everything fails and all of your steps to prepare yourself for the day or for treatment fall through, have a last resort trick up your sleeve. For some, this might be taking ten minutes to go on a walk and debrief, or a change of clothes in the car. For others, a worst-case solution is taking a lunch break or coffee break early away from their desk. Designate your worst-case solution and use it when necessary. You need a place to be redeemed from the unexpected pitfalls of treatment and day-to-day life.  

10.  Imagine your perfect day.

There’s a benefit to letting your mind idealize your plan because it can give you something to look forward to. Take time to imagine your perfect treatment plan and your ideal day when you’re setting goals with your doctor. Think about that ideal situation when things get stressful and chaotic so you can bring your focus back to what you can control.