Which Food and Drinks Should I Avoid to Control Incontinence?

As certain foods and drinks can irritate incontinence, knowing what to avoid in your diet can help with daily continence management. Here’s what you need to avoid.

Which Food and Drinks Should I Avoid to Control Incontinence?

As certain foods and drinks can irritate incontinence, knowing what to avoid in your diet can help with daily continence management. Here’s what you need to avoid.

Incontinence can stem from a wide range of causes, including weakened pelvic floor muscles, overactive bladders, mental or physical issues, chronic illnesses and more. While treatment plans for incontinence will relate to the cause of incontinence itself, there’s one easy way to look at minimising its impact on your daily life by examining your diet.

As our bladders collect fluid, toxins and waste products that are filtered from our blood via our kidneys, there’s a clear correlation between the food and drink we consume and incontinence outcomes. Particularly for those whose incontinence is the result of an overactive bladder or urge incontinence, removing certain foods and drinks can make a remarkable impact on the frequency of incontinence occurrences.

Your GP may refer to those strategies as ‘lifestyle modification’ or ‘behaviour therapy’. These lifestyle choices can lead to outcomes that may prevent the need for other types of treatment, such as medication or surgery.

Slow down your fluid intake

Drinking too much fluid, too quickly, can lead to the need to urinate more often. If you’re not pacing yourself as you drink, this can place pressure on your bladder, resulting in a clear sense of urgency.

Aim to spread your fluid intake out over the day, limiting the amount of fluids you take in within quick succession. Particularly for those whose sleep is impacted by the need to get up in the night to urinate, taking in more fluids in the morning and afternoon can help limit disruptions throughout the night.

It’s advised to avoid alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine, as these are stimulants for urine production.

Lastly, keep an eye on your fluid intake: if you drink too little fluid, it can lead to a buildup of body waste within your urine. This can negatively impact your bladder, irritating it and increasing the urge to ‘go’ more often.

Ensuring a balanced fluid intake can help you to find the sweet spot between too much and too little, supporting incontinence through a strategic approach.

Avoid known bladder irritants

Some food and drinks, by nature of their ingredients or design, will negatively impact your bladder more than others. Known bladder irritants include:

  • Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Some acidic fruits, including oranges, lemons and limes
  • Tomato-based foods and condiments
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy foods
  • Salty foods

It’s not all bad news if some of your favourite foods and drinks are on this list. A process of elimination can help you identify which foods and drinks may promote incontinence and which are safe to add back into your diet. You can test this by removing these from your diet, then adding one group back into your diet every few days, keeping an eye on any changes to your urinary urgency, frequency or output, under the guidance of medical experts.

Foods to increase

As well as avoiding certain foods in your diet, adding more foods that encourage bladder health can have a positive effect on continence management. These include most of the ripe fruits and vegetables, such as:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Coconut
  • Strawberries and blackberries
  • Watermelon
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers

It’s also important to include foods that are high in fibre, which can help prevent constipation, which leads to unnecessary pressure on your bladder. Fibre-rich foods, such as lentils, beans, barley, bran and oats, can help with healthy bowel functions, reducing the risk of consequences from constipation.

Supplements are also recommended depending on your individual nutritional needs. If you’re unsure how to increase your bladder health, your doctor can advise on supplements that could benefit your health outcomes.

Other ways to support incontinence

While avoiding food and drink that can worsen incontinence is one simple way to improve your daily continence management, there are other tools that can be useful in building a consistent, long-term approach.

  • Bladder training is recommended for those who are experiencing an overactive bladder. If you’ve gotten used to regular urination, or have developed a habit of urinating at even a small urge, this encourages your bladder to send ‘full’ messages to your brain, even when it isn’t. Bladder training can minimise this by adjusting your habits, training your bladder to use the toilet on a schedule that gradually increases
    the period between urination. It helps the bladder to fill more, creating more control over the urge to urinate.

  • Strengthening your pelvic floor can also help increase control over urination. Pelvic floor exercises, commonly referred to as Kegels, open and close the tube that’s responsible for transporting urine from the bladder to the urethra. By regularly practising Kegel muscles, you can strengthen the muscles that control urine flow, aiding your ability to withhold from urination until it’s an opportune moment.

  • Other contributing factors may include medication management. As some drugs can contribute to bladder control problems, it’s worth discussing incontinence with your doctor before trialling any new medication. Should incontinence worsen during the course of taking a new medication, your doctor can assist you in evaluating options that may provide relief from incontinence.

Minimise the impact of incontinence

While there are lifestyle choices that can contribute to minimising incontinence, incontinence can still be of great concern to those living with it on a daily basis.

A proactive approach to continence management also includes making the most of products that are designed to minimise the negative impacts of incontinence.

ConfidenceClub offers European-made continence management products of superior quality that allow you to live life to the full.

With discreet delivery direct to your door, there’s no need to spend time in supermarkets or chemists evaluating the limited choices before you. At ConfidenceClub, we’ve removed the pain points associated with finding and securing some of the best and most effective continence management products.


Slimline underwear protection for small leaks or voids


Comfortable pull-up pants for moderate urinary incontinence


Designed for the highest protection from urinary, faecal or mixed incontinence


Pull-up pants designed for children and teenagers, for use day or night

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